Born in Southern California, Monica Edgerton-Sperry is a professional artist and has been an art educator for many years. Before moving to Perrysburg, OH, in 1993, Monica earned her BFA in Drawing & Painting from California State University, Fullerton, and studied at the New York Academy of Art. In 1997, she received an MFA in Painting from Bowling Green State University (BGSU). Before opening Edgerton Art Studio & School, Monica was an adult art instructor at the Toledo Museum of Art. Her experience also includes part-time assistant art professor at BGSU, University of Toledo, and Lourdes College. Monica’s teaching philosophy is simple – learning can take time and focus, but the process should be enjoyable and unforced. Many of Monica’s students have worked with her for many years, as they continue to develop their creative skills.
Through observation of the world around and within, my paintings and drawings tell stories of life. The individuality, diversity and interconnectedness of biologic, botanic, oceanic, and geologic forms are used to mirror human relationships, challenges, and personal memory. Just as all essences of existence vibrate with color and energy, canvas and paper are covered with forms of nature. Evidence of human interaction, dreams, and spirit coexist within each tale seeking to see and be seen, to comprehend and learn, to be understood as unique, and also to be remembered. All life leaves an imprint, a signature, on other lives as well as on its environment. Energies are exchanged as cycles of life, death, building, and change, continue their drift through time. My works tell tales of journeys, of moments remembered, of times and places glimpsed and also imagined.
The evidence of human interaction within these narratives begins with me. Through constant observations of how plants grow and recycle, watching how sunlight, shadow, and color interact, and noticing the complex relationships plants have with their neighbors – animal, vegetable, and mineral, my imagination is both educated and activated. Plants and the other life around me, like friends and other acquaintances, become the community to which I am most attached, the environmental stage upon and within which these stories are told. Views are microcosms and macrocosms simultaneously. Much like fractal mathematics decodes both cosmic and microscopic relationships, in each particular focus the earth and the universe become a composition in the closely observed diversity of life surrounding me. The infinite space within the shadows of my mind is combined with those spaces outside it, and represented in intricately entwined patterns of narrative.
Sometimes the full spectrum of colors is used to describe the essences and complexities of the natural world and our relationship with and within it. The luminosity and color diversity of oil painting, pastels, and pigment crayons allow these stories to resonate with the life forces they depict, as well as reflect and amplify the energy which went into their making. Using intertwining color and imagery along with subliminal shapes and forms within compositions, exemplifies such relationships. Evidences of human civilization and aspirations of spiritual growth and communion are interwoven into an environment which incubates development of all kinds. Sometimes forgotten and often abused, nature, like a unique individual ignored, becomes isolated from us, unavailable for continued growth and nourishing warmth. We become the one outside and alone, observer at a distance. Reminding us of our own delicate place within a complex system by questioning the idea and appropriate places of sanctuary and objects of ritual, these narratives speak of a joining with time and place, simultaneously honoring the life and energies of each color and form. Again, like the cosmos, individual components and ideas of each work connect and find expression in every element of my work.
Intensity can also be amplified by using a limited palette. Pastels, charcoal, and pigment crayons often facilitate depiction of other aspects of growth and interconnectedness in these tales of nature and human existence. By limiting the use of color relationships, a sense of calm and balance is juxtaposed against the acute emotions involved with images of nightmare and dream. Used alone, earth tones evoke feelings subtly primal, triggering visions of ancient cave paintings. The artist, surrounded by the dark, with chunks of raw pigment in hand, is caught up in the act and ritual of making images of the world, trying to understand and somehow control the outcome. Touching both artist and viewer in a place of spirit and imagination, my primarily monochromatic drawings explore personal memory and fragmented dreams. Line and the limited use of color develop the magnitude and complexity of each chapter of the tale. Overcrowded spaces teeming with images of plant and animal forms, force a venture into places of shadow. Spirit and imagination are brought to another level of focus. Some hidden forms are quietly awaiting discovery while others are caught up completely within the composition, tugging at the unconscious. Time and memory are investigated and brought into the light. Although there is order within the intricacy of the chaos, terror and pain are there as well. To see and be seen are parts of the path into and through each work.
Like those cave artists of so long ago, I too am making a chronicle of an individual hand. Recording the tale of a mind sometimes overwhelmed by visions of the extraordinary aspects of the natural world and wondering just how I fit in with the multitude of life around me, existence is questioned and explored. With each painting and every drawing, I add to the building of my own story, changing with the process. Each work is complete within itself, while connecting with some larger view. Using these pictures as a portal into space, time, and the imagination, I invite the viewer to journey within each work and within themselves, making another connection. By exploring the recesses of my own mind and imagination, observations and experiences of life and relationships are integrated into the ideas and construction of each work. Part of the process involves the energy assimilated from nature, recycled into visual stories, each becoming a reservoir of color and light, thought and energy. By savoring the energy, sharing the dreams, and glimpsing a vision of life’s currents and endless flows, the cycle moves forward, my connection achieved.
Even if only for a brief moment, I hope the viewer will find their own place within each narrative, making the voyage of imagination and connection, absorbing the energy offered, and remembering their own journeys.