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Monika Hedman

charcoal on gessoed paper
24″ x 18″

Clara Lieu, RISD Adjunct Professor

Clara Lieu
Art Prof & Partner

Artist Statement
“I am a senior in high school. I hear color and see sound. I have synesthesia, a union of the senses where the stimulation of one sense invokes another. I perceive the world very differently from my peers, as I understand every aspect of reality through color. Numbers, letters, days of the week, and even musical notes have distinct colors. Because my perception is heavily reliant on visual imagery, I have always seen art as a means of communication and understanding complex ideas.
My artistic skills have been fine-tuned, and I have developed a unique and advanced skill set. Every aspect of my pieces are thoroughly deliberated and influenced by my intertwined senses. Often times, contemporary art precedes social movements because art is an exposé of social issues and injustice. Art is a cultural form of resistance, and holds immense power. Art not only reflects culture, but also creates it. Through my art, I hope to initiate social change like many others have done.”

3 responses on "Art Critique: Monika Hedman"

  1. Like Professor Lieu said, I am so impressed with your layering and the amount of time clearly put into this piece. I think this layering technique does a great job of really cementing your grandfather’s eyes deep in his eye sockets while bringing out the glasses. I really love the depth in that area. The rigor I see with your crosshatching is so exciting and creates some wonderful detail. The gestural, quick and loose approach to those marks add a very exciting element of energy to an otherwise peaceful image. Moving forward, I would definitely agree with Professor Lieu that holding off on the compressed charcoal until later in the piece is a great idea. I would love to see what details you could bring out with an eraser stick or other reductive processes, and vine charcoal is absolutely wonderful for that! Fabulous job on creating such a wonderful piece for your grandfather!

  2. As Lauryn points out, your handling of the eyes of the subject conveys so much personality; but I’m also really struck, personally, by how well you’ve rendered your grandfather’s glasses… Your attention to the specificity of those reflections and highlights adds an extra layer of depth to that area, and only complicates our relationship to the subject which, otherwise, is so intimate and personable. Knowing that the piece is drawn, at least in part, from the last photograph you took of your grandfather, this tension creates an emotional resonance that is truly fitting. A great tribute!

  3. I think it’s so amazing that you were able to really capture the gaze of this person that meant so much to you. The way you’ve drawn your grandfather comes across as very intimate and lifelike. Your attention to edges and lines, intentional or not, reminds me of portraits by Alice Neel. My favorite areas are when you go into the eyes and the nose, because you let yourself focus on planes and not lines. This combination can create a beautiful harmony if you let it. Conceptually speaking, I think it would be interesting for you to do another charcoal portrait of your grandfather from memory and see how they compare side by side. It’s so interesting to see what the mind remembers of a face in contrast to working from a photo or from life.

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