Saturday, April 30, 2022

The Transformative Art of Monica Wyatt

Monica Wyatt: curiouser 

By Lorraine Heitzman


Monica Wyatt Installation at MorYork

Among the many sorts of artists there are in the world, those who are driven to collect, assemble, and re-invent are especially close to my heart. Monica Wyatt’s show, curiouser, set against Clare Graham’s art and collection (some might say obsession) is a great example of the type of work that finds inspiration in common, and not-so-common, objects. These artists share their delight and humor in transforming and elevating pedestrian materials into art. Their art stores are salvage yards, and they prefer to choose cast-offs instead of traditional art supplies.


Each rely on multiples to emphasize the nature of their raw materials and succeed in turning excess into something quite purposeful. This work also has an affinity to outsider art in the artists' ability and inclination to use that which has been overlooked or discarded. For the outsider artist, using found materials may be a necessity, but in both cases, art made from the flotsam and jetsam of our material world carries a sort of nobility at its core; because of the artists' vision, the elements of humble origins are metamorphosed into objects of beauty.


Wyatt, in this show, has really hit her stride. The hanging sculptures in the main space are constructed with plastic vials and possess a delicate beauty and geometry that seem simultaneously random and rooted in a methodical and mathematical precision. This dichotomy runs throughout her work as well as the contrasts between textures: sleek plastic versus unruly fibers, machined, metal bobbins versus organic forms. Her use of materials is sensitive, highlighting tactile qualities while sublimating their original, intended purposes. The abundance and repetition that Wyatt uses suggest biomorphic processes, growth, and cellular structures. One imagines hanging bird nests, air plants, DNA structures and microscopic images of all sorts. If they suggest scientific models and inquiries, they do so with a humanistic slant. There is nothing dry or particularly cerebral about Wyatt's sculptures, they are focused on visual and tactile pleasures, and to borrow a phrase from Churchill, they are "... a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma". You can still see curiouser for one more week at MorYork Gallery and be pleasantly surprised by the mysteries within.  


Monica Wyatt: curiouser
MorYork Gallery, 4949 York Blvd. Highland Park 90042

Exhibit continues through May 7 2022

All photos by Lorraine Heitzman


  1. Lorraine, thank you for writing so beautifully about my show. Very grateful that you took the time to not only come and see c u r i o u s e r, but to distill the experience into words that sing.