The exhibition will include ten acrylic paintings on wood panels. Shaping the Distance introduces a type of unifying theory in gathering six years of Dean Mongenis work, from 2007 to 2013. The combination of these paintings gives an overview of his stated intent.
Dean Monogenis’s paintings depict environments merging urban, architectural constructions with natural elements. The artist combines details of unfinished buildings, colored scaffoldings and condo structures in landscapes made of rock cliffs, vegetation, looming skies and colored abysses. He thus points out the constant state of change and transition, the challenge between nature and human perseverance in the perpetually in-progress urban landscape.
«The destruction I witnessed from my 6th floor window on September 11, 2011 made it clear that what I took for granted as permanent would never be the same. Watching the Twin Towers come down I realized that buildings, like people, were fated to a similar cycle of life and death. With this basic notion of impermanence, I began to seek out examples from the world around me that spoke to transformation.»
The concept of transformation — in theory and practice — has a firm place in his painting. Though his work looks highly rendered, he employs an active process of editing. Normally, he paints on wood or plastic panels employing customized stencils. Utilizing the dialogue established between different painting techniques, these stencil-applied graphic elements are integrated with areas that he paints freehand. Line, edge, and texture are very important to him as well. To accentuate these formal concerns he often paints things like the sky last, which creates a shallow, imbedded quality to the painted imagery underneath. The effect works to maximize the visual tension on the painted surface, challenging the logic of what naturally should be in front and behind. As the picture develops there inevitably comes a point for revision, that he achieves by sanding and reworking areas to bring them back to a zero state. This ability to erase allows him to maintain precision without forfeiting spontaneity and improvisation.
«In Shaping the Distance I am primarily interested in exploring scenarios that depict temporality and transformation. These works hold true to this idea but they also indicate that there is something beyond. I like to think of it as an invitation for expansion and growth. I sustain an ultimately positive belief in what lies ahead and our ability to form for ourselves a world of our own design. Albeit, this world may exist in our imaginations only, but conviction is a strong ingredient in helping us to positively affect the world around us.
At times, Nature plays a more significant role in my composition. In such instances, it is no longer just a passive backdrop for architectural intrusions. Nature becomes more active, taking on its own thematic significance and offering a counterpart to the rectilinear austerity of architectural forms.»
Dean Monogenis was born in 1973 in New York City, USA. He studied at the Skidmore College (NY, USA – 1992) and at the Art Institute of Chicago – Bachelor of Fine Arts (IL, USA – 1996). He lives and works now in New York City.
The Xippas Gallery of Athens presented its first exhibition of works in Greece in 2012. Monogenis exhibited in USA in New York City (Riva Gallery, Annina Nosei Gallery, Stux Gallery, Morgan Lehman Gallery, Elga Wimmer Gallery, Priska C.Juschka Fine art), in Los Angeles (Walter Maciel Gallery) and in Dallas (Circuit 12 Contemporary). Also in Milan, Italy (Antoni Battaglia Arte Contemporanea). Monogenis has received recognition for his work, including, in 2013, the «Artist in the Market Place (AIM) Program, Bronx Museum of the Arts (Bronx, NY, USA).
Monogenis has participated in numerous group exhibitions: «Vertigo» at the Xippas Gallery (Geneva), «Incognito» at the Santa Monica Museum of Art (Santa Monica), «Recent Acquisitions» at the Federal Reserve Board, (Washington), «Reconstruction Nature» at the Hunterdon Art Museum (Clinton, New Jersey), «Future Tense» at the Neuberger Museum (NY), «Lost Horizon» at the Herter Gallery, (University of Massachusetts, Amherts), «Beautiful Dreamer» at the Spaces Gallery (Cleveland, Ohio).