vol. 1 | September 2019
Bakehouse Artist since 2018
Pulling from a life in constant movement, Miami-based painter Patricia Monclús draws upon distant memories and experiences from a transient adolescence. Her wild, abstracted brush strokes and obscured perspectives strain to pull into focus the memories and landscapes spread across three continents. Born to a Colombian mother and Spanish father, Monclús spent her childhood moving between Los Angeles, Palmira and Tarragona. A visual arts program would pull her back to Colombia before reuniting with her family and ‘settling’ in South Florida, where she graduated from the New World School of the Arts.
Monclús builds a visual conversation with urban landscapes and modernity, portraiture and the whimsy of childhood, and is forging her own unique artistic voice. Applying her paint brush directly to the canvas, her paintings are vibrant and playful. Her works use color and shape to philosophize on the abundance of imagery and information in both the physical world around us as well as the metaphysical one within us, allowing her viewers to reconstruct their own interpretations.
What themes unify your work?
It all comes from an interest in abundance of imagery and information. I take photos from my family, crappy photos I take with my phone, so many different sources of imagery that all start collapsing in my head. I try to understand what each image is asking for. An idea that interests me is the periphery and how we reconstruct the periphery. I’m thinking about how we see things from afar, and how we construct the full image regardless of what we get from the source. You see some blurred stuff, but your brain can still predict what it is. I'm trying to blur things that I feel need to be hidden or discovered, and to accentuate things that are more distracting so the hidden becomes more hidden.
How do you approach your painting process?
I let them take on their own technique or style. I try not to impose a way of working [a particular style] but rather understand each source and see what techniques speak to each one. The landscapes are usually from screenshots or poor photographs taken from my car while I’m driving. Portraits often come from family photos. I will do a lot of drawing beforehand. I’ll work out different parts of a painting, or do studies in paint, too. I often sketch out different pieces onto transparent paper and then juxtapose them. But once I reach the canvas, I just go for it.
What context does Miami provide for your work?
It has a lot of the urban landscapes and portraits. It definitely has to do with how the city is growing and seeing all of these neighborhoods going under. Gentrification and how that dynamic works. Driving through Miami, a lot of the landscape resembles Colombia; I am driven to want to paint these landscapes. But on the other hand, there is a lot of juxtapositions. There is big capital, more events, it is growing so fast compared to Colombia. Cars have also been a big deal to me. It is the first time that I have been forced to have a car. Right now, I’m working on a painting that will be a landscape of cars.
Bakehouse Rising provides the opportunity to introduce two artists monthly, focusing on their practice and place within our local ecosystem. Text by Nicole Martinez.
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Bakehouse Artist since 2016
In the 1990s, Havana-born, Miami-based artist Sandra Ramos developed a series of painted suitcases. The project explored the dreams and illusions of the Cuban diaspora through the use of sculpture and installation. Using materials as far flung as glass and live snails, Ramos’ earliest series marked her boundless exploration of mediums. Over the following three decades, Ramos has built a powerful body of work that courageously explores the political and social landscape of her native Cuba through the lens of engraving, printmaking, painting, drawing, film, animation and installation.
While her work knows no particular style, she has created an artistic language that transcends the history, past and present of Cuba, the individual and collective memory of its diaspora and the difficulties of those who remain in modern day Cuba. Her work creates a dialogue between her island nation and the outside world—holding up a mirror to the everyday struggle of surviving the country’s economic and social destruction.
What are the themes that unify your work?
All of my work always has to do with society. It has a strong historical background and how social traditions have been interpreted, especially engraving and illustration, because they are less elitist. In Cuba, I would work a lot with the immigration wave of the 90s, during the Special Period. Right now, in the US, I am working with those ideas, but more as they relate to the U.S. I am working on a series related to the environment and ecological destruction. How nature is political for so many totalitarian governments.
How do you move between so many mediums?
I want my work to be about a sensation. So it depends on what I want to say. Each medium gives me an efficient form to express myself. And I get bored. Sometimes I come in and I have no idea what I am going to do. Other times, I know exactly what I want. So i just start. It's about discipline.
Now that you have moved to Miami, does the city play a role in your work?
You’ll see that many of my works have to do with Miami and going back and forth between the city and my native Cuba, but I think that it's still difficult to live and work in Miami because of production. Space is hard to come by. Space is very expensive here. And so is production. It is difficult to access that.
For more on Sandra Ramos: https://www.sandraramosart.com/