Monica Curiel Artist Statement
Simplistic beauty and creation are at the center of my work. My works urge the viewer to appreciate a beautiful space and to take part in the present moment. My experience as a cancer survivor set the groundwork in my deep quest to engage with the present, to discover my special presence and reason for being. It is also what drives me to further examine topics of belonging, identity and culture throughout my paintings, drawings and illustrations. Although my works appear ordinary, they stem from an underlying battle with cancer, from the remanence of mental health imbalances that come with that experience, and from a quest to celebrate my Mexican heritage.
In the contemporary work Tierra, plaster on canvas, I depict what is for me the trickling down of water upon the rocks of the riverbank in which I used to bathe as a child into adolescence in the foothills of Mexico. It is a work that honors my Mexican heritage. These textured works are composed of underlying sentiments of depression and a longing to create beautiful environments and a sense of peace in order to bring about balance in my mental state. The materials, such as grouting tools, plaster, wood, wood stain and house paints, are commonly used by the Latino labor force in this country and are intentionally manipulated to create pieces that I feel draw me back to my cultural roots. A viewer may not have that association upon first glance of my work, but that is also intentional. I do not create works that outwardly symbolize Mexico or the Latino culture, I want to make them inviting to all audiences.
My works are composed of distorted perspectives, earthy tones, muted colors and layers of various media in order to connect the medium to the purpose of the work. My paintings transition between uses of nontraditional materials and oil paints. The process of choosing between one or the other varies on the subject matter.