Artist John Monti sculpted brightly colored “flower clusters” with twisting vines and floral forms for the iconic Grace Building lobby, transforming it into a playful garden.
Thursday, September 15, 6 – 8 PM
John Monti’s work exists in a unique space balanced between Modernist discipline and Baroque exuberance. Though Monti is well versed in the tenants of Modern art and architecture with its emphasis on pure form and intellectual rigor, he instinctively gravitates towards jubilant ornamentation more associated with decorative Baroque palaces than Modernist glass boxes.
Beauties, a new installation commissioned by Arts Brookfield, brings Monti’s serious yet playful sensibilities to the lobby of the iconic Grace Building. In Beauties, Monti presents groupings of brightly colored and ornately voluptuous forms that take root in the marble lobby. These highly refined sculptures are both architectural in scale and figurative in nature, teeming with plant and flower-like ornamentation. Monti describes them as “hybrid forms” which combine both plant and animal characteristics.
Monti’s vivid sculptures transform the lobby into a playful garden, a place where viewers can momentarily forget the challenges of the everyday world and interact with these colorfully seductive interlopers. The bright industrial colors combined with the biomorphic shapes are an important clue to the hybrid nature of Monti’s practice; he not only aims to create pleasing decorative environments, but is also keenly aware that our modern sensibilities pertaining to beauty may exist in facts and fiction. While the flower and plant shapes he hand crafts are plausible in the natural world, their bright fluorescent surfaces effortlessly shift the sculptures towards the realm of fantasy. Monti’s installation playfully reveals that our fascination with beauty, and its natural extension, love, may hinge on our relationship to the visceral world we inhabit and worlds we can only imagine.
John Monti would like to thank Tom Warren and Andrew Zinicola for their invaluable assistance in making Beauties a reality.