Calif. artist explores motion, space, and science

Artist Brendan Monroe’s intriguing paintings and sculptures often convey movement — sometimes seemingly on the edge of control. But other works appear calm in motion, with orderly flowing landscapes, or wooden figures serenely dissolving into liquid. A longstanding interest in science has influenced his work, he told Sparked.


“Blending.” 56 x 76 cm, acrylic on paper. All images courtesy and copyright of Brendan Monroe.


“Divide.” 15 x 15.5 cm, acrylic on paper.


“Bridge.” 56 x 43 cm, acrylic on paper.

On his website, the Oakland, CA, artist writes that his “interpretations of the world are mostly rooted in science then executed through painting and sculpting.” He said by email that while he doesn’t have a formal background in science, he’s always had an interest in it.

Although the influence might be less direct in his most recent works, previous ones have drawn inspiration from the Kepler telescope, protoplanetary disks, and atomic models. “I think I’m interested in these things because of the desire for discovery and understanding,” he added. As humans, we tend to “wonder about life and everything around it.”

His paintings also touch on nebulae and wavelengths (500 nm, in particular), while his sculptures include figures subject to various changes and forces. This includes one peering down at a large hole through his torso (“Misinterpretation of Holes”), another whose body appears to be liquefying upward (“Misunderstanding of Gravity”), and a third whose legs appear from beneath a spiked mass (“Confusion of Space-Time”).

Misinterpretation of matter states

“Misinterpretation of Matter States.” 2.5 x 23 x 11 cm, polymer clay.

Protoplanetary disks

“Protoplanetary Disks.” 25.5 x 24 cm each, acrylic on paper mounted on board.

500 nm waves

“500 nm Waves.” 56 x 36 cm, acrylic on paper.

Monroe has group shows in Oregon and California running throughout September, as well as an upcoming exhibition at Galerie LJ in Paris from October 22 through November 20. The new exhibition of paintings and sculptures is Monroe’s third in Paris, according to the gallery, and shows the continued development of rotational movement in his work.

More information and images are available at brendanmonroe.com.


Nicole is an editor and writer living in San Francisco.

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