John Monti

John Monti is a sculptor, based in Brooklyn, NY. Born in Portland, Oregon, he received a BS from Portland State University in Painting and an MFA from the Pratt Institute, where he is Professor of Fine Arts in the graduate program. Monti has exhibited nationally and internationally both in museums and galleries and has completed public commissions plus set and costume designs for dance. Exhibitions include the Brooklyn Museum, Weatherspoon Art Gallery, Sculpture Center, White Columns, Artists Space, Elizabeth Harris Gallery, Curt Marcus Gallery and the Wakita Museum of Art, Japan. His work is included in major private and public collections, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Brooklyn Museum, Yale University Art Gallery, The Eli Broad Family Foundation, The Portland Art Museum and the Wakita Museum of Art. Grants include the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation, the Joan Mitchell Foundation, the Pollock Krasner Fellowship Grant, The New York Foundation for the Arts, The Rockefeller Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. His work has been featured in many publications, including Artforum, Art in America, Sculpture Magazine, Arts Magazine, Artnews, The Los Angeles Times and The New York Times.

Visually immersive the Flower Cluster sculptures represent dense amalgams of organic forms, twisting vines and flora; all made meaningful through the evocation of memories, both the mundane and the spectacular. Somewhat fetishistic, the forms are cast in resin with a high-gloss finish derived from custom car culture. Motivated by our current social and political condition the work metaphorically represents our contradictory sense of aspiration, loss and denial. Owen Jones in The Grammar of Ornament speaks of ornamentation as serving a function of masking the imperfections of particular elements in architecture i.e. where two edges meet or where disjunctions are created in a structure. Ornamentation is used to not only mask and hide the imperfection but to make it “right” again, to heal the architecture and soothe the eye. Similarly William Morris of the Arts and Crafts movement used decorative flora and the patterning of natural forms to herald a new social order. The signification of ornament trumpeted aspirational order in a formative and chaotic society; unfortunately for the most part his efforts failed. These are but two examples where the trope of ornamentation is motivated by a political agenda, the propaganda of flowers if you will. My work manifests a contemporary adaptation of these historical ploys, an abstracted endgame, signaling contradictions and the masking of desire and loss. JM 2018