Creating a “new mythology” for contemporary society
Jonathan Monaghan is an American contemporary artist who works across a range of media, including prints, sculpture, and video, to create what he calls a “new mythology” for contemporary society. Carrying on the tradition of Pop Art, Monaghan looks at our current blind consumer culture obsessed with technology and consumer goods with a critical eye. His sobering works are a visual attempt to personify the conflicting relationship we have with ourselves and nature in the context of ubiquitous technology in our digital age and the anxieties associated with it through striking contrasts and juxtapositions of different elements and aesthetics.
Appropriating imagery from popular culture, video games, and art history, Monaghan creates fantastic narratives in which different elements, extracted from wide-ranging sources, are combined in unconventional and unexpected ways intersecting past and future, real and virtual. They seem familiar but at the same time new and alien, acquiring new meaning in Monaghan’s fabricated new decadent and dehumanized world. There are no humans in his work, only relics of the past and our materialistic world, thus providing a “a cautionary message for the way we live our lives today, and what that could lead to, particularly in the context of whether there are ecological consequences of our consumer culture or our open dependence on technology and the alienation that comes with that.”
Jonathan Monaghan received a BA from the New York Institute of Technology in 2008 and a MA from the University of Maryland in 2011. He has participated in numerous group and solo shows worldwide, including The State Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia, The Palais de Tokyo in Paris, France, and The Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, USA. His work has been featured in The New York Times, Vogue, and The Washington Post. Monaghan is the recipient of several awards, the most recent of which is the Janet and Walter Sondheim Artscape Price in 2021. His work is part of public and private collections, including The Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and the Washington D.C. Art Bank Collection.
Jonathan Monaghan lives and works in Washington DC, USA.