Monica Canilao: an irrepressible urge to create

At first sight the installations created by Californian Monica Canilao can make you think of inhabited rooms, where the walls are covered in wallpaper and drapes and weird objects accumulate on pieces of furniture. The space results packed with a modern form of horror vacui and someone may diagnose its virtual occupant with hoarder disorder. Monica.Canilao. installationMade with scavenged materials and found objects, the apparently chaotic installations by Monica Canilao occupy entire rooms, creating originally lively environments out of old discarded items. In a way, Canilao is a hoarder: she incessantly gathers discarded materials and objects. These are the still alive remnants of previous uses and lives that speak to the artist’s inspiration. Monica Canilao, embroidered pieceMonica Canilao, panelMonica Canilao, installationIt is difficult to classify Canilao‘s artistic practice. She does not have a medium of choice: everything at hand can serve her creative energies. She off-handedly switches from drawing, printing and stitching to building; from small works to massive installations. The big spaces she creates are densely furnished and decorated up to the smallest corner. They look naturally chaotic and for this same reason lively, warm and intimate. Monica Canilao, installationMonica Canilao, detailMonica Canilao, installationCraft plays a priceless role in Canilao‘s art. In fact, it is only through mastering her crafts that she is able to rescue discarded materials, giving them a completely new purpose. Monica Canilao at workMonica Canilao, crocheted pieceMonica Canilao, outdoor installationCanilao‘s inspiration is nourished by the old and neglected objects that once surrounded a life, from old photographs to decorative objects. These items emanate a strong, evocative power which activates the imagination. Even some old tea-bags release a poetic energy in her work. Monica Canilao, tea bagsMonica Canilao, panelMonica Canilao, wallWe live in an era of mass production and disposability: we easily discard still-functioning objects in the name of the latest ones. Canilao‘s art is a reaction to this trend. She demonstrates that the old is a carrier of the new, provided that we actively and imaginatively engage with it. Monica Canilao, front houseFor more of Monica Canilao‘s art visit her website here and her blog here.

(This post is a revision of a feature written for Frameweb).

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