Kent Monkman | the artist
The artist Kent Monkman
Born 1965, St Marys, Canada.
Lives and works in Toronto, Canada.
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Monkman is part of a new generation of Native American artists who has exhibited widely in museums throughout Canada. His broad practice, which ranges from figurative painting to film and performance, explores the complexities of the flawed, yet enduring myth of the American West. Taking on the artistic traditions of Western nineteenth century painting, Monkmans appropriations of New World painting are meticulous recreations of large-scale, sublime landscapes. Yet Monkmans trickery only becomes clear on closer inspection: these grand panoramas, painted in acrylic not oil, are populated with cavorting cowboys and indians. Toying with the notion of authenticity, these reimagined, often homoeroticised tableaux playfully subvert and distort traditional narratives and perceptions…
The Romantic tradition of westward expansion and colonial nation-building is radically revised by the artist Ken Monkman in his fantastic vision of idyllic free-for-all pioneer orgies, flamboyant performance personas and other high-spirited interventions into historical mythology…
masterwork of Toronto artist Kent Monkman, Dance to the Berdashe. This video installation, composed of five large projections, offers a contemporary re-interpretation of a traditional Aboriginal ritual featuring the Berdashe, that special male figure whose gender-bending behaviour and very existence astonished and appalled many explorers of the American West…
"When I was a kid I was always painting, drawing, It was a real joy for me. There was never any question in my mind that that's what I would be doing. When it came to that point in my life of what to do, I knew I was going to pursue my life as an artist."