Monmouth Museum New Jersey Emerging Artists Series

Florence Moonan

Variations: Abstract Explorations in Venetian Plaster

March 23, 2018 – April 22, 2018


“Nocturne (Orcas Island)” Mixed Media, by Florence Moonan

Artist Gallery Talk: Wednesday, April 11, 2018 from 7:00 -8:00pm

Gallery Hours: Tuesday-Saturday: 10:00am-5:00pm; Friday: 10:00am-9:00pm; and Sunday: 12:00pm-5:00pm

If I can’t sing it, I will paint it,” said Florence Moonan, featured in  Monmouth Museum New Jersey Emerging Artists Series, on exhibit at the Museum from March 23 – April 22, 2018. She is a New Jersey based artist who is passionate about painting and music. Her exhibition is titled, Variations: Abstract Explorations in Venetian Plaster and will open on March 23, 2018 with a reception from 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM in the Nilson Gallery at the Museum.  Moonan’s Gallery Talk will be held on April 11th from 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM. Both the opening reception and gallery talk are free and open to the public.

Moonan began taking art courses while working full-time at The College of New Jersey. In 2002, she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts summa cum laude from TCNJ. “I had a remarkable teacher for a painting class. She taught me how to express my inner thoughts and emotions through color and texture. It was a revelation and I began working in an abstract manner using acrylic paints and mixed media.” Moonan has an intuitive approach to painting and is influenced by the colorful memories of performing in summer stock theater, her family, the natural world and experiences from her travels, but above all, music, especially Broadway musicals and opera.

Today, Moonan is known for colorful abstract Venetian plaster paintings. Through this medium she has learned to create bold new ways of mark making using metal scrapers and various tools that produce a tactile texture that is as smooth as a stone tossed by the sea. Her paintings evoke a range of moods from playful to mysterious.

Several works in her solo exhibition Variations: Abstract Explorations in Venetian Plaster celebrate the memory of her youngest sister, and a few cherished days spent with her sisters on Orcas Island of the San Juan Islands in Washington State. “The plaster’s special qualities help me render surfaces that are to me immediately appealing and sensuous, much like a beautiful aria. I am hoping each work in this exhibition will also strike a chord with the viewer.”

Her paintings have been selected for numerous juried shows, invitational, and group exhibitions throughout the United States including: The Center for Contemporary Art, Bedminster, NJ; Hunterdon Art Museum, Clinton, NJ; Maryland Federation of Art, Annapolis, MD; Chautauqua Institution, Chautauqua, NY, and  GoggleWorks Center for the Arts, (First Prize Award), Reading, Pennsylvania.

Artist Statement:
Music, especially Broadway musicals and opera, is a driving force in my work. This connection is rooted in my childhood performing in local summer-stock theater. Performing evolved into painting as I discovered the ability to express inner emotions by applying color and texture to canvas or wood in an abstract manner. I have an intuitive approach to painting as I make decisions and take advantage of chance revelations. My work is also informed by travel, family history, and the natural world. I currently work with Venetian plaster on board. The plaster’s unique quality helps me produce surfaces that are immediately appealing and as sensuous as a beautiful aria. Various materials and tools are used for rubbing, scraping, and sanding the surface to uncover buried marks and textures that create a history of where I have been. A unique exploration emerges following this process of adding and subtracting layers. At times, bold gestural marks originate from visceral reactions to music. Additional mediums such as graphite, oil stick, and Asphaltum are often employed to further enhance the work. Each work pushes the direction of the next until all possibilities have been exhausted.

Vidhi Mehrotra

Sound to Silence

May 4 – June 3, 2018

Opening Reception: May 4, 6:00 – 8:00pm | Gallery Talk: May 16, 7:00 – 8:00pm

Gallery Hours: Tue-Sat: 10:00am – 5:00pm Fri: 10:00am – 9:00pm Sun: 12:00 – 5:00pm

Artist Statement:
My paintings are visual interpretations of music. As a child I was fortunate to be immersed in a culturally rich household. Sufi and Hindustani classical music echoed throughout the halls while colorful textiles adorned the walls. These intricate textures, colors, and sounds that wrapped my childhood have become an inextricable part of my soul and what is expressed in my paintings.

A new painting begins with selecting a piece of music. Like a visual conductor of music, I paint what I hear, associating colors with the sound and then letting the musical notes guide my hand to create soundscapes on canvas. There is no blueprint rather a sheer flow of rhythms and harmonies as I experience the music and the silence in between. One brush-stroke interweaves with another, one color whispers to the next, all performing chaotically and yet result in harmony until the essence of the music has been captured on the canvas. The finished paintings resemble a tapestry of color. Like the threads of woven fabric, the resulting interwoven strokes, recorded with acrylic paint, morph the musical form into a visually harmonious color-scape.