About the Work:
Inspired by Bauhaus design and color principles, as well as Japanese and Chinese paper arts, Leo Monahan creates modern masterworks of cut and folded paper.
By cutting, folding, and texturizing paper of various weights, and by superimposing the pieces in dimensional collage, Leo gives the objects in his works a palpability they would not possess depicted on a flat canvas. In an old country kitchen, large spoons lean out from their utensil holder, as if hankering for a cook’s hand. A decaying rowboat poses in fugitive relief against the water that threatens to engulf it. Leo’s use of relief is such that some of his most arresting art is white on white.
Most of Monahan’s works, including the kitchens, are prodigies of color. An object’s relief is often heightened by intense tone. Using hot colors liberally in harmony with a few cooler ones, Leo often achieves some of the effects of an abstract. For example, his bigger- and more-colorful-than-life fishing flies seem intended to lure your inner eye.
In recent years, Leo has also enjoyed exploring the sensuous and emotional power of rusts and earth tones, often in images from his boyhood in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
Leo’s work has appeared in galleries in California and across the Southwest. His work is now in the Grovewood Gallery in Asheville, NC. His pieces are in numerous private collections and the Smithsonian Institution. The Art Academy of Los Angeles held a 40-year retrospective of his compositions. Leo holds a Life Achievement Award from the Los Angeles Society of Illustrators.