About the Artist
Monika Malewska was born in Warsaw, Poland. She received her BFA from the University of Manitoba in Canada and her MFA degree from the University of Texas at San Antonio. She is currently a Professor of Art at Juniata College in Pennsylvania. Malewska works in several art media, particularly painting, drawing, and photography. Her work has been shown in various galleries and museums, including Phoenix Gallery, NYC, Blank Space Gallery, NYC, Denise Bibro Fine Art Gallery, NYC, Camel Art Space, Brooklyn, NY, the Blue Star Complex in San Antonio, Texas, the Benton Museum in Storrs, Connecticut, the New Britain Museum of American Art in New Britain, Connecticut, Orange County Center for Contemporary Art, Santa Ana, CA, to name a few. Her work has been featured in Huff Post (Arts and Culture section), Direct Art Magazine, Hi-Fructose, Fresh Paint Magazine, Gastronomica: The Journal of Food and Culture and other publications.
My most recent series of paintings consist of large-scale watercolors depicting various wreath-like arrangements made of bacon. Most of them are symmetrical and somewhat reminiscent of the Rorschach ink blot test. I enjoy combining the formal elegance of design with the recognizable banality of bacon, along with the surreal and absurd accompaniment of other decorative elements such as flowers, butterflies, and fruits. The arrangements are playful and whimsical in a rococo fashion but also grotesque. In my not-so-still still-lifes, I am hoping to draw subtle parallels between the decadence and frivolity evident in certain historical genres and our contemporary culture. My works employ the conventions of the historical still-life genre in relation to contemporary consumer culture in America. My use of meat, dolls, toys, and corporate icons bridges notions of kitsch and high art by alluding to the theme of Vanitas in seventeenth-century Dutch still-life paintings. Using photographs and, more recently, digitally manipulated prints as a starting point for my paintings and works on paper, I manipulate the representation of objects to deconstruct the aesthetics of commercial ads and the politics of a world constituted by material desire. At first glance, my compositions are seductively colorful and bright. Closer inspection, however, reveals elements of unease and decay. Behind each of these comical and absurd compositions is a layer of dark humor, a commentary on the complex relationship between the politics of the body, commercialism, and cultures of consumption.