If anything can be said of the women in Monica’s paintings it is that they are all unapologetically themselves. Butts and breasts out, they are feeling themselves in a way that comes from having full agency over who / what / where they are shown. Thick brushstrokes render bodies heavy on the canvas, their gestures all the more deliberate and their own.
It is in stark contrast to the more serious conversations that are usually had when it comes to the female figure and the reclamation of its representation from the male gaze. As the Guerilla Girls posed in their 1986 campaign, “less than 5% of artists in the Modern Art selections are women, but 85% of the nudes are female.” By her own admission, she is not trying to answer these questions through her practice but rather lay out inspirations from her own life. Yet in doing so, one cannot help but view through the haze of glitter and sequins a world in which women can be nude on their own terms. And whatsmore, the representation of POC women reveling in nostalgic playfulness goes further to offer viewers alternative references from more stoic colonialist depictions in the process.