Monday, November 21, 2011

Monica Canilao


I was first introduced to Monica Canilao the same way I've been exposed to many of my current favorite artists, via Faythe Levine's old gallery Paper Boat. In 2007 Monica showed her work along side Mike Brodie's photographs. I was blown away. I briefly met Monica before I saw her art. She was in town for the show and had finished hanging her work early so Faythe took her down the street to my old boutique. Monica struck me as very warm and authentic. She bought a dress which she wore later for the opening.

Image from Paper Boat's flickr. See more photos from the 2007 show here.

Monica's collages incorporate forgotten objects like worn textiles and vintage photographs. In them, the colors and textures of antiquity and decay are jolted by neon geometric details and enchanting imagery. She has since started doing huge installations which take the same aesthetic of her collages and turn it into an environment, which is truly magical.


the nest

Images of Canilao's most recent installation at Lopo Gallery from here.

This past summer Faythe had Monica back to Milwaukee for the installation"What's Lost is Safe" in Faythe's new space, Sky High Gallery. Since she was coming from out of town and had only 5 days to create her installation, Monica had called for Milwaukee people to donate materials for her to work with. I dropped off a box of old notions, a shawl, and other do-dads and got a chance to see her working, dying old lace and tablecloths in back of the gallery. At the opening I was excited to find my little objects woven in to the installation. I was enchanted with the honor of being a part of her creative miracle.



Above photos from a studio visit with Monica over at In The Make.

Also see;
A great interview with Monica and Bunnie Reiss whom she has been collaborating with for the Lopo Gallery installation. A neat process video of said installation.


  1. WOW indeed. thanks for sharing. her work is breathtaking. certainly an enchanting combination of found, salvaged and vintage. so beautiful!

  2. This is a beautiful post and what an interesting artist. Thank you for sharing