“My paintings are simply a metaphor for life. It’s about how we navigate the chaos and find our way…”
We begin our weekly Artist Feature segment with the work of Monica Perez Vega, which is fitting as it was she who originally had the idea to begin the Hiraeth Magazine. Last summer, Monica and I shared a studio for a time before she moved to London, and it was fascinating to watch somebody who works from a completely reversed position to me. When Monica approaches the blank canvas, there isn’t any sense that she has an overriding idea or aim for what the finished work might be; it is more of a case of, “…ok, let’s just see where this one goes…” Often, she starts out with a background image or patterning that is printed using a linocut, which is then over worked with a brush, re-moved, and then re-worked until she sees the work as being finished.
Monica talks about her work in terms of “adaption,” with one layer adapting to the next. One layer might be expressive and abstract, while the next could be more figurative, suggesting inter-twining organic forms. Opaque, monochrome layers hide and reveal intricate sub-strata. The act of layering and excavating is an essential part of her process, but also serves as a metaphor for how she experiences life. She sees each painting as a story, one which is built in layers. The colours remind me of places specific to her history; the clear cold blue of a Dutch sky, the sharp green of a Californian palm tree or the hot pink of a painted Mexican wall. Monica is intrigued by the ideas of how an individual might adapt to circumstance and how such changes shape our society and environment. She says, “it’s about finding the balance between chaos and control while navigating circumstance.” Ultimately, each painting’s story is built upon its own histories, adapting to and evolving from the layers as it builds.
“In order to not only survive, but to evolve, we must adapt to change.”
IJBURG, 50×50 cm, oil on canvas, 2010
PINK AND GREEN LANDSCAPE, 30×30 cm, acrylic and oil on canvas, 2014