Van den Dool, Monica Helena
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The observation of everyday actions and interactions provides me with the motivation for this body of work. The situations, motives, and characteristics of my sculptures are no more indecipherable, strange, or ambiguous than what I see around me everyday. To me, the figures are clear and more than real, crystallizing and magnifying the course of day-to-day life. In general, figurative work appeals to me because of its directness. Its presence and impact are less remote, more immediate. The bulk, scale and chunky physicality lend an important quality to these figures; a sense that they are uneasy in their own bodies. In Deep Sea Catch, this theme is explicit. A blankly smiling and seemingly oblivious woman holds out a prehistoric-looking fish. The fish represents the primitive in the character’s nature, a connection that she cannot even begin to grasp. The figures are all female for a variety of reasons. I am obviously more familiar with the female figure and work from my own poses in the studio. There is also a feminist element in the work, although the emphasis is on the more sweeping concerns of the human condition. The issues I address are common to both genders in varying degrees, but are expressed more naturally for me through the female figure. In the earlier sculptures, which are not draped, the generic style of clothing is an attempt to establish a kind of uniform of normalcy. The women, outfitted in pumps, necklaces, and dresses, appear to be comfortable and well-off. Their placid and carefully groomed exteriors form an ironic contrast to their more desperate or suggestive circumstances. For instance, in Chicken Dinner, two women interact with a pair of dead chickens. The women’s incongruous style of dress and apparent delight heightens the strangeness of what could have been a relatively normal scenario.