Draped over invisible clotheslines, vintage fabrics conceal seaside vistas, meadows teeming with dried grasses, and craggy walls of stone in Monica Rohan’s latest works. The artist (previously) renders the vast landscapes of her native Australia in a new series of oil paintings as part of Disappearing Act, her solo show on view later this month at Jan Murphy Gallery in Fortitude Valley, Queensland.
Known for her deft portrayals of pattern and the dimensions of folded textiles, Rohan continues to contrast domestic, human-made material with more organic surroundings. In this series, disembodied limbs draw back the suspended curtains, slowly uncovering the otherwise concealed landscapes. Rohan refers to these small reveals as “portals to seemingly idyllic environments beyond” that accentuate the way paintings—and art, more broadly—intervene in how we experience our surroundings.
The stage-like nature of the paintings draws connections between the limited duration of theatrical performances and the impending losses caused by the climate crisis as they channel “feelings of anxiety and concern toward landscapes under threat,” the artist says. Each is serene with calm waters, sunny skies, and an easiness to its existence, and all notably lack evidence of human civilization. Devoid of a body, the hands add an uncanny tension to the works, as they direct viewers toward what lies behind the curtains and emphasize, as the title suggests, “that the show is about to start.”
Disappearing Act will run from April 26 to May 13. Until then, take a look at Rohan’s Instagram, where she generously shares glimpses into her process.
Do stories and artists like this matter to you? Become a Colossal Member today and support independent arts publishing for as little as $5 per month. You’ll connect with a community of like-minded readers who are passionate about contemporary art, read articles and newsletters ad-free, sustain our interview series, get discounts and early access to our limited-edition print releases, and much more. Join now!