Monique Rodríguez paints nearly every day. In her studio in Amsterdam East, her method always starts with a layer of burnt umber applied to transform the white linen into her canvas. From that point on, it’s a purely intuitive process of discovery. Some of her works start as a sketch, others emerge without any draft: rich colours glide organically alongside each other into the curves of her signature abstraction.

A Stormy Night, 2021
Blue Lagoon, 2021

Monique cites the Galician mountains of her father’s childhood home as the inspiration for her atmospheric scenes. The Spanish sun recurs in each work, a circle in infinite colours – sometimes with a twin. Monique took up painting three years ago per the advice of her mother, as a cure for a broken heart. Her first work purged this heartache into a cubistic portrait, since then she has devoted herself to the abstract style with which she has made her name.

From a distance, the patterns of Monique’s abstract work relay a graphic effect reminiscent of the flattened botanical silhouettes of Matisse’s cut-outs. At a closer look, one can observe the details. Her brushstrokes can be felt in the texture of the canvas, the suns are not perfectly round. In this subtle way Monique strikes a balance somewhere between the science of geometric abstraction and the meditative mood of deconstructed landscape painting.

Clear Sky, 2021
Little Green Plant, 2021
Nightswimming, 2021

What may have once originated as Spanish memories could evoke an entirely different scene in the viewer: the artist encourages this ambiguity and invites her audience simply to observe. Just as their creation is intuitive, the encounter with these paintings works best as a sensory experience. The environments are not there to be excavated for symbolism but to be taken in as worlds unto their own, layer by layer or as a sublime whole.

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