Galina Munroe (b. 1993) is a British-French artist who graduated with an MFA from the Central Saint Martins. Her practice extends within the parameters of a surreal and abstract world in which shifting shapes and forms illustrate the surface of her canvases. “I don’t apply restrictions to my painting. I let it ebb and flow. I embrace weakness and misunderstandings during the process and I just keep telling myself it’s going to be ok, enjoy the ride and the painting will get where it needs to when I’m ready to get it here”, says Munroe.
Words: Yannis Kostarias
Abstract visualizations are evident in the young artist’s recent work, showcasing various forms smoothly painted next to each other. An assemblage of irregular curvilinear compositions characterise her painting style, which is developed between figuration and abstraction. Reflecting the feeling of uneasy narratives, the paintings bring up unexpected interpretations; a mix of vivid colours blend with more earthy shades, applied with loose brushstrokes on her canvases. It shows the directness of expression that evidently defines Munroe’s body of work.
Talking about her new artworks, she mentions that she was working around colour association and negative space. Furthermore, the artist concentrates on the human “body as a directive tool to understand surface rather than the naked form”. Munroe’s work is currently exhibiting at the Delphian Gallery London.
Can you tell us about the process of making your work?
I don’t apply restrictions to my painting. I let it ebb and flow. I embrace weakness and misunderstandings during the process and I just keep telling myself it’s going to be ok,enjoy the ride and the painting will get where it needs to when I’m ready to get it here. There’s a great deal of change from start to end usually. But it all happens very fast. I become obsessed with working out the next move. Very similar to chess in some ways. Or that guessing game, battleship.
How would you define your work in few words (ideally in 3 words)?
Comfort, humour and beauty.
Can you name any artists you, lately or generally, take inspiration from?
Jesse littlefield, Sanya kantarovosky, Mattea Perrotta, Caroline Denervaud and Henry Moore.
What can you tell us about your new artworks which will be on view at Delphian Gallery?
It is part of a series of small studies I made a few months ago where I was working around colour association and negative space. I was using the body as a directive tool to understand surface rather than the naked form. I spent a lot of time looking at Henry Moore sculptures too.
Creating a new painting can be a solitary process. If this applies to you, when you concentrate on a new artwork does it affect your social life at all?
Yes quite dramatically. I have noticed that I seem to work in a recurring pattern that comes every three weeks. I’ll spend three weeks craving social interactions, physical contact with people, excitement and attention. I seem to drink more and eat less. It feels like I have to plunge myself into every single space and person possible. And then all of a sudden I’m fuelled up with all sorts of mad energies and I want to be Alone again and painting 24/7 for the next three weeks.
How do you know when a painting is finished?
When it looks good.
What about the place where you work? What’s your studio space like, and how does it affect your process?
I’m still searching for my holy grail studio, London has not made it easy on Artists for the past 10 years. I just left my old studio in Hackney Wick and have spent the past two months working for a close friend, Jordan Kerwick in the south of France. I usually work on my paintings from 6am till 9.30am then work with Jordy 10-7pm then work on my stuff till it’s too dark to paint. The studio is in a 300 year old Manor House- high ceilings, abundance of natural light, sweetheart owners who invite you down for champagne at 11am..it’s been an inspirational summer. My work has doubled, quadrupled in size, composition has become more involved with space, on and off the canvas, shape and surface are looser and richer.. I’m on the lookout for a new studio in East London right now, but if it feels like too much bullshit I’m going to pack up and move back to France.
Which exhibition did you visit last?
Alex Foxton at OFR librarie in Paris.
What do you hope audiences will take from your work?
I don’t like to feel stuck and I don’t want the audience to feel it either. I want my work to feel familiar but undecided, Like that feeling when you bump into the same stranger more than once on the same day.
Are you a morning person or a night owl?
I’m a bit of both. I find it hard to sleep in. My mind is usually racing by 7/8am. But I am partial to opening a bottle of wine in the studio and getting loose until the early hours a couple times a month. It’s very cathartic, being drunk with your own work at 3am. It takes all seriousness out of it, brash decisions are usually made..not always good ones but at least it keeps things from stagnating.
Is the glass half empty or half full?
Depends what you gave me in that glass.
Which are your plans for the near future?
I’m heading back from Toulouse to London on Thursday. I can’t deal with the heat any longer! And then I’ll be leaving for Australia mid August for my first solo exhibition with PierMarq gallery in Sydney.
All images are courtesy of Delphian Gallery London.