Works reinterpret idyllic scenes from popular stories, television, and advertising. In mainstream America, concepts such as joy, discovery and exhilaration are coopted by marketing strategies. Experience becomes imprisoned by products, stereotypes and labels. Some children are marked so indelibly, they cannot venture forth without donning their favorite logo and prefabricated identity. Brands become both filter and lens for one’s point of view. This propagates a mesmerizing cycle of fashion and consumption and an artificial sense of progress. My drawings infiltrate this cycle and attempt to excise experience from commercial shackles. Unlike protagonists in many ads, my figures confront geopolitical realities where pastoral landscapes are tainted by the presence of hovering drones, landmines, poison ivy, and litter. By combining serene imagery with ubiquitous signs of global crises, I invite participants to contemplate relationships between the American Dream and violence, consumption and poverty. The conflagration of disparate elements generates simultaneity, where cultural contradictions coexist in one suburban backyard, at one time. This slippery place invites exploration of authentic joy through experience, where figures shed their brands and viewers can shed their filters.
Tourniquet was created by applying aquatint and waterbite to an initial hard ground etching. Color was added by 3 separate woodblocks, comprising between 3 and 5 colors each. Blocks were printed using etching inks thinned with tint-base extender, to create highly transparent layers. These layers, when printed over etchings already heavy in plate-tone, produced smoky, atmospheric colors. Chine-colle adds dimensions to form and content in the following places. The boy’s butterfly wings are built from hand-dyed paper and glitter. Their shimmer evokes a sense of transformation. Found paper provides the pattern for the girls skirt, which conjures a number of familiar high-end fashion brands. A found hershey’s kiss plume scrolls from the bird’s mouth. In this case, the language of marketing literally replaces this child’s voice.
Edward Monovich’s works on paper have exhibited widely throughout the US, and in the UK, Belgium, Italy, Hungary and Colombia. His interactive murals were part of the “Playpen” exhibition at The Drawing Center.