Three Are Better Than One: Mona Lisas at JoAnne Artman Gallery

JoAnne Artman Gallery
May 22, 2020 8:36PM

Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa is one of the most famous and most replicated works of art in the world. The magic of the Mona Lisa’s smile is that it seems to react to the viewer’s gaze. She smiles at us mysteriously, knowingly. What is she thinking? What does she know? A unifier that extends across cultures, the Mona Lisa’s smile remains in the minds of her viewers. Continuing the tradition of reinterpreting da Vinci’s masterpiece, America Martin, Greg Miller, and James Wolanin pair motion and emotion with their distinctive styles.

America Martin
My Mona Lisa, 2019
JoAnne Artman Gallery

Offering thoughtful, meditative reflections in her work that meld dreams with narrative, America Martin’s work often centers around overarching themes of human nature and our relationship with the environment. Integrating wide planes, smooth curves, and textural surfaces, Martin emphasizes her geometric blocking with bold swaths of color and revising bodily proportions. Presenting these ideas in symbolic narrative, My Mona Lisa blends the fluid outlines of the female forms with the colors of the seascape background as body and landscape become one.

Greg Miller
Mona Lisa, 2020
JoAnne Artman Gallery

Influenced by Marcel Duchamp’s ready-made rendition of the Mona Lisa, in which he draws a goatee over her face, Greg Miller takes on a similar, playful approach by placing an eye patch over the famous image. Guiding the viewer towards new discoveries in meaning, each compositional component explores the interplay between scale, form, palette, and texture. Using the recognizable portrait as a starting point for his composition, Miller forges the connection between advertising, urban environment, and social history by fastidiously and painstakingly re-creating the look of age, grit, and time through the use of paint, collage paper and resin on canvas, painting each visual element by hand.

James Wolanin
Mona Lisa of the Motorway, _
JoAnne Artman Gallery

The candy colored, blissfully bright palette in acrylic and resin of James Wolanin is as refreshing as an icy glass of lemonade on a hot summer day. The sun-drenched hues bring a vintage-cool aesthetic to the visual symbols of the 60s and 70s that populate the work. In many ways the works have an almost abstract quality - the immediate, photographic compositions create large, flat, color fields emphasized by pattern and repetition. Wolanin’s work is not merely surface level however. Drawing inspiration from vintage ads, the artist explores visual associations of representations of women in the latter half of the 20th century. However, it is the gaze of the subjects of his compositions that draw the viewer forward. As in the aptly named Mona Lisa of the Motorway, we are left guessing at the truth behind their intriguing, mysteriously smiling visages, as the women pose, play and frolic.

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JoAnne Artman Gallery