Monika Teal

Monika Teal’s (1950 - ) career as a painter began with her studies at the University of Minnesota, where she graduated with a Bachelor’s degree with honors in 1974.  From 1981 to 1984, she studied the figure at the Seattle School of Visual Concepts, and in 1988 graduated with a Master’s degree with honors in painting at Western Carolina University.  In 1991, she moved to Switzerland where she maintained a studio until 1997, showing her work in various galleries and museums. Teal has a penchant for figurative narratives in her paintings. Her attraction to storytelling - a vessel for her paintings- has been continuous and persistent throughout her work.  She credits the most dramatic influence in her work to her move to Switzerland.  Here, a certain aesthetic shift occurred in her work, as well as a psychological and technical shift. This geographic relocation, or dislocation, caused Teal to become more enveloped in history and tradition. Most importantly, she was able to turn her back on the pressures of popular culture, contemporary criticism and other social and political forces she encountered in the United States, and paint from her own sense of personal meaning. As a virtual expatriate, she was able to produce an extraordinary body of paintings that have sprung from the self, from myth and from the history of form and style, especially of Northern Renaissance and Baroque art.  Her works became unencumbered by outside issues of avant-gardism, while pertinent to a larger spiritual landscape. Her works tend to transcend the immediate and locate themselves in a larger, more universal, sequence. Monika Teal’s paintings have matured into an exploration, referencing history, allegory and the spiritual/religious.  For Teal, this journey has been a reckoning, a coming to grips with a location of latent sensibilities. Although her work has feminist overtones, the message does not attempt to conceal her attitude about sensuality or eroticism.  Teal says, “I recognize my work often has erotic overtones.  It is not consciously intentional, but it excites me when I see it.  It comes from deep inside me, in the place where there are no words, and when it comes, it is honest.  When it is blatantly missing, the work seems to lack something.  I make a connection to soul and erotic.  I am comforted when I see it in a finished piece.” Monika Teal’s recent works have obtained a patina of time and of authenticity.  Because the paintings and concepts are not rushed, but slowly developed and worked over, they incorporate and pull in references to the history of art, its meanings and its symbols. Her technical dexterity has brought to her paintings a level of complex and intrinsic work. Her work continues to be enriched by opportunities to work and study various locations. Shifts in location and perception have melded themselves into Teal’s own mature and individual style.

Other works by: Monika Teal