Monique Rollins in Beijing

 – A Note on Sentiment and Memory –

Monique Rollins, solo exhibition Beijing Memory: Nostalgia Paintings, Beijing, August 28th 2015

Afternoon, 2015, Acrylic and paper collage on canvas, 13 x 16 inches (32 x 42 cm)

Afternoon, 2015, Acrylic and paper collage on canvas, 32 x 42 cm.

To be amongst painters, is to realize the importance of beauty. As Rose Issa stated in 2009, “Beauty is coming back,” A statement that describes the return of painting as a work of art, and not recognized for its speed of production but for its determination to be felt, played and unhurried in a rabid digital age. In an era where there is no time to pause, stop, halt, the works of Monique Rollins demands the cessare di esistere of the spectator in front of the painting. Hence, down with conceptualism, and welcome back to the portrayal of an image without the assistance of captions: Words, words, and more words.

Monique Rollins absorbs tremendous patience, as she dives into the surfaces of her art, and rebuilds landscapes within cityscapes and cityscapes within landscapes. Her Beijing Memory: Nostalgia Paintings Series are born out of her previous body of work entitled The Urban Jungle reflecting the integration of estrangement coexisting with continuity. Her physical removal from society [as structure] demands an outlook on society from a distance, and reappears with the embodiment of her colorful and confident brushstrokes capturing what lies within. A return to the city without the feeling of presence removed, but rather installed in all its urbanity allows for infrastructures of emotions to appear from behind those facades. Depths are created with the two-dimensionality of its surface, bringing back the intention of abstract expressionism to still exist with a solid purpose: Sense.

Contemporary sensibilities have certainly changed due to the impact of technology, all touch and no feeling. To see with a grain of salt, has led to the strokes of paint with a sprinkle of attitude. Welcome back Miro, de Kooning, Kandinsky. Their phase might have ended but a new era began, not as homage but a revival. As Hans-Georg Gadamer wrote in The Relevance of the Beautiful, he talks about art as a source of play, symbol and festival. Hence, the revival is; “that play is so elementary a function of human life, culture is quite inconceivable without this element.” Rollins is that culture of play.

Maintaining the use of all her senses, Rollins becomes an embodiment of her work. The nostalgia is lived through her residency in Beijing, where two months of unfamiliarity becomes a realization of déjà vu without attributing it to something in particular. The epitome of anything and everything suddenly starts to make sense. Walking into her studio, be it in a loft in New York, Beijing, or amidst the Jamaican seaside and Tuscan countryside, you know you are in the presence of a great abstract expressionist. One who is not bound by any limitations and is reaching a goal: The paragon of being and becoming motioned through a sentimental longing to a reflective immediacy.

Don’t rush this one. Its immediacy is long and well played.

–Aïda Eltorie, August 2015

Download Press Release here: Beijing Memory, Press Release.

Breeze, 2015, 16 x 20 inches (40.5 x 51 cm)

Breeze, 2015, 40.5 x 51 cm.

Dusk, 2015, acrylic and paper collage on canvas, 12 x 16 inches (30 x 40.5 cm)

Dusk, 2015, acrylic and paper collage on canvas, 30 x 40.5 cm. 

Beautiful Chaos, acryliv and paper collage on canvas, 16 x 20 inches (40 x 51.1 cm)

Beautiful Chaos, Acrylic and paper collage on canvas, 40 x 51.1 cm. 

Outside the City, 2015, acylic on canvas, 40.5 x 45 inches (103 x 114 cm)

Outside the City, 2015, Acrylic on canvas, 103 x 114 cm. 

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