Jonathan Monaghan, ‘Who Art In Heaven’, 2009, bitforms gallery
Jonathan Monaghan, ‘Who Art In Heaven’, 2009, bitforms gallery
Jonathan Monaghan, ‘Who Art In Heaven’, 2009, bitforms gallery

Jonathan Monaghan
"Who Art In Heaven", 2009
wood, 3D printed plastic, face-mounted digital print on Epson glossy photo paper, chrome bolts
20 x 33 x 2 in / 50.8 x 83.8 x 5.1 cm

Based in the U.S., Monaghan crafts surreal and psychologically driven works that operate within the real, imagined and virtual worlds. He builds absurdist 3D environments that contain compelling objects, often pulling from populist sources, such as historic architecture, religious iconography, design, science fiction, and advertising.

The composition of "Who Art In Heaven" is based on an elaborate altarpiece in Dijon, France, by Jacques de Baerze (14th Century, Flemish). Without depicting any figures, it conjures a vision of the uneasy relationship between our bodies and technology. The piece plays with a vocabulary of sacred architecture, and as well as virtual space. In this work, Monaghan merges computer generated imagery and Gothic ornamentation. A custom tailored the frame, which is 3D printed with an intricate filigree, bridges the two and three dimensional aspects of space. Designed using modeling software, the white plastic exterior evokes a clinical, sterile and almost medical setting.

About Jonathan Monaghan

To create his CGI animations, Jonathan Monaghan mines and appropriates the characters and environments from the video games of his youth, as well as incorporating references to art history, Wall Street, consumer products, and other aspects of contemporary culture. “Pitting these ridiculous-looking video game characters and environments with recreations of real, “evil” power is very much what I was doing,” he has said. “By trying to create a coherent reality or a narrative where these absurd manifestations of power interact with actual power structures, my viewers can approach how power works through a different lens.” He likens this process of appropriation and reinterpretation to hacking—pulling images from culture and reversing their meaning, so that they subvert the very structures that produced them.

American, b. 1986, New York, New York, based in Washington, D.C.