Isabel Monti

About the Artist

Isabel Monti is a multidisciplinary artist currently going back and forth between western NY and Düsseldorf Germany. She is a MFA candidate in Alfred University’s Alfred Düsseldorf Painting MFA program. Here she has a focus in autobiographical figurative painting and neon light. She received her BFA from the University of Wisconsin Madison. Monti grew up in Wisconsin and during her undergraduate studies spent seven months in Italy in 2018. She has participated in multiple group shows in Madison, WI, Alfred, NY, Brooklyn, NY, Dusseldorf Germany, and Florence Italy.

About Artist’s Work:

Memory is what connects us to what is not immediately around us. Formally, it is a function of the brain that is used to intake information and store it for retrieval. It is an active demonstration that we are always processing and expanding our worlds. Furthermore, it is what connects our present to the past and without it we are left untethered and lost. In my practice I use paint as a vehicle for memory. It allows me to intimately know someone and continue to communicate and hold close loved ones who are no longer with me. My practice has been one of research and exploration of myself, my family, and the materiality of paint as well as being healing and therapeutic.

I’ve been exploring my relationships with my grandparents, after three of them have passed away. I use memories of them, family photos, and the objects they have given me to continue to piece together who they were. These sources get layered into my paintings through paint, paper, tape, and gloss medium. Spray paint is used to create a hazy atmosphere that references the ephemeral quality of memory, while tape, paper, and gloss medium are used to bring in a ghost visual layer, as if it cant quite be recalled. There are a lot of layers to each family member and I want the surface to represent that complexity. Through this practice I have also created a lexicon of symbols for each grandparent in hopes that they will see it and know I am still thinking of them from the realm of the living. Dealing with loss, I strive to capture the nuanced cocktail of emotions that comes with it, sadness and longing, but also the joy and gratitude for the time we shared.

What does “Home” mean to you: 

For me home is both a place and a group of people. It’s my space and the people that I have cultivated to hold me and nourish me. This line of thinking leads me to be really intrigued by what others consider home. What do they keep in their space? Who is in their inner circle. There is so much I can learn from someone by knowing their “home”. Home is also a container and guarded of our memories. When I think of my abuela I think of her kitchen and the meals we have shared. She is home and her home is an extension of her.

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