The changing scene: Annette Monnier at Padlock, plus an interview

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This is part 1 of a two-part article on Annette Monnier. Part one is about the exhibit at Padlock Gallery, and Part Two is an interview about her various collaborations with Nick Paparone, Jamie Dillon and others to create first Black Floor and then Copy galleries.

Annette Monnier
Annette Monnier standing in the Portal of History, 2006-7 her installation about art history, time and space. Because the portal is opposite a mirror above the fireplace mantle, Monnier spelled out art historian Giorgio Vasari’s name in reverse. The word under the mantle is Today. It is not backwards.

Annette Monnier has staked out a position for herself in her art making that questions the practices of the past. She makes drawings on bed sheets using markers from hobby shops. Her extravagant use of Wite-Out is really to correct mistakes, not to add white to her drawings. But then she incorporates the white correction into the composition.

Decorative Element (Curtain), 2006. This sheet is from the Martha Stewart Collection.
Decorative Element (Curtain), 2006. This sheet is from the Martha Stewart Collection.

In her exhibit, 27 (in honor of her 27th birthday), up for November at Padlock Gallery (by appointment only–contact mail(at)padlockgallery.com), Annette makes use of old audio tape cassettes, turning them into symbols of yesterday’s music, yesterday’s technology and yesterday’s art history. The curtain of hanging tapes between the hallway and the gallery space is a statement about space as well as time. Pulled back with fake flowers, the work also comments on decor.

Annette Monnier
Yellow Sign Menu, 2004

Monnier’s work is not only rich in concepts. It’s got lots to look at. And this show is an opportunity to buy it at rock-bottom prices. Her Yellow Sign Menu series, based on the lit up food choices at Lucky’s, a Chinese food take-out place on Baltimore Avenue in West Philadelphia, goes for $50 per–almost as cheap as the food. And each one is a beauty. Someone said to Monnier that “yellow” was a racial slur, but it’s all about the color of the menus at Lucky’s, Monnier said.

Annette Monnier
detail from Really Full Subway Car, one of the Micron drawings

When Roberta and I arrived at the exhibit, Sarah McEneaney had just snapped up one of three large drawings made with Micron pens, each of them made to size for their Ikea frames. Monnier, like so many young artists now, I thinking in irreverent ways about the traditions of the art historical world.

Annette Monnier
Really Full Subway Car, 2007, created to fit in an Ikea frame, and showing the thoughts of the passengers

You know Monnier’s prices are going up soon, because she will be showing in New York in Bravin Lee Programs‘ Christmas show, Ornament: Ho Hum All Ye Faithful, opening Nov. 30. The chock-a-block exhibit of 65 artists has a number of great Philadelphia artists, including Astrid Bowlby, John Freeborn, Amy S. Kauffman and Space 1026 (I’m not sure exactly what Space 1026 means in this context).

Annette Monnier
Spiderman, 2007, on a sheet from Ikea–her newest source for sheets. “I’ve shifted my loyalty [from Martha Stewart] to Ikea,” Monnier said, the day we visited her exhibit. Putting an American flag on a Swedish product seems like a pretty rich idea to me.

Monnier was also one of the artists at Abington Art Center, in The Handmaking earlier this year. She had lots of great things to say in a panel discussion of artists about the issues of handmade, craft vs. art, and the do-it-yourself aesthetic (see post here). This is the place to read what she has to say about her art work and her use of materials.

Besides being an artist, Annette Monnier is one of the group behind Copy Gallery. Until a couple of weeks ago, she was also a “trend spotter” and blogger for Vulture Droppings and for Art in the Age, both run by the PR company Gyro Worldwide. (See post here about how the facts of business life pulled the rug out from under Art in the Age. Shortly after the events recounted in the post, Monnier decided to resign from the two blogs). We asked her immediately if she would write for artblog–so look for posts by her in the near future. And she said she hopes to start a blog of her own.

Here’s Part 2 of this article.

Tags

annette monnier, black floor, copy gallery, padlock gallery

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