News : 2018

"Monica Tap in Galleries West Online"
Paul Gessell

 Collaged Landscapes 


 Monica Tap combines landscapes from photographs, historical paintings and her own memories to create dreamy new scenes.


For her new body of work depicting both rural landscapes and lush urban greenery, Monica Tap appropriated imagery from photographs, favourite historical paintings and personal memories. Bits and pieces from various images were seamlessly united to create original scenes that turned out, unintentionally, to be dreamy and joyous.

“Often a single painting will derive from three or four images I have collaged together,” says the Alberta-raised, Toronto-based Tap, whose exhibition of 13 oil paintings, Arrangement, is at the Peter Robertson Gallery in Edmonton until July 7.

The soft-focus paintings are a big departure from other recent works derived from blurred video images shot from moving vehicles. Think of those works as the veteran artist’s Impressionist phase, while the new works in Edmonton are more Post-Impressionist.

It’s the place, perhaps, where she is most comfortable, given that her influences – her “art dads,” as she calls them – have included such Post-Impressionists as Paul Cézanne, Paul Gauguin and Emile Bernard. As Tap tells her painting students at the University of Guelph, you can’t choose your blood relations, but you can pick your “art dad” and “art mom."

The paintings in Arrangement are devoid of people. “They’re hiding,” Tap says, only half in jest. But most scenes contain evidence of human occupation, including buildings, gardens and lawns. And, in Gauguin’s Dog, she included a small dog borrowed from several Gauguin paintings that contain such a creature. She thought it would be less distracting than a human.

Tap avoided people in her paintings because the eye automatically focuses on them. “I wanted the viewer to be the person in the painting as opposed to giving them something to look at,” she says. ■

Arrangement is on view at the Peter Robertson Gallery in Edmonton from June 14 to July 7, 2018.