Today it’s time to show you the work of Monique van Steen, a Dutch painter living in Barcelona, Spain, who is fascinated by the exploration on the boundaries of what is established socially as female beauty.
The faces she depicts are outrageously disfigured yet they seem to be of a soaring sensuality with their big eyes and dazzling colors.
Inspired by her urban contemporary surroundings (Barcelona), she describes her Beauties (adopting deliberately the term from the fashion world) to be within the Popart style for the bright and surreal colours she uses,
and Manga or Comic for the edgy compositions.
As a former model, today’s painter knows like nobody else how much photoshop is being used in order to seduce the public to buy or need products and services.
Monique works manifest her feelings from within; ego and reason, Apollo and Dionysus, two intertwined, yet seemingly opposite forces.
For her Beauties represent this duality between wanting to warn, alert about the distorted world, this unreachable beauty goal (even for models themselves)
and the want to be not the loser in the game,
therefor working hard to be the best at satisfying these unspoken rules of appearances on how to be attractive and sexy.
Deeply aware of this controversial inner world she seeks the boundaries of beauty in her depicted female features.
Bordering, and sometimes even stretching the limits of what is admitted as pretty, she uses an equally dual personal language to create her Beauties.
The Superflat surfaces of her paintings might remind us of the works of the artist Takashi Murakami, with colourfields that are very controlled and rational, giving a steady playground for the drippings that swing expressively over the surface seemingly totally fluid and intuitive.
Yet somehow, as Apollo and Dionysus, they stem from the same source and together they lift the painted to a higher level.