Focus on Art

By Rob Mohr

Women Artists on the Edge


focus-dec13-2Julie Elizabeth Mignard,  In contrast to paintings that are “composed” based on what was seen, Julie Mignard’s painting Divine Reflection (photo), with its spiritual and emotional power, enriches a viewer’s appreciation of abstract art, an art which exist independent from visual references.Julie uses paint as the primary ‘objective subject’ of her art, while juxtaposing the qualities of form, color, and line to create paintings that both emit and elicit emotion.

“I can’t stand it if I don’t paint every day. Painting was the way I broke free of an earlier restrictive relationship with a man. I paint to let my emotions out, and to share my innermost feelings and spiritual yearnings.” 

Julie studied art as a child, and took advanced art classes at the Springfield Missouri College, where she learned to “let her hair down” and be responsive to the artist inside of her. Later, an experience with a juried show, where the judge rejected her painting, had significant impact on her growth as an artist.  “I went home and threw my painting into a corner and stared at it realizing that it was not a work I was proud of. Emotionally distraught I threw all of my paint at the rejected painting. It took a month to dry. This rejection, coupled with the positive qualities created by the thrown paint, had a powerful effect on my future works.” 

Julie’s paintings combine, oil paint, acrylic, with dry pigment and glitter rubbed in to create a textured surface that exists in a nuanced relationship with the spiritual drama created by broad areas of color that push and pull against one another to create a sense of infinite space.

On a different tack, Monica Petrowitsch’s iconographic works Frank Lloyd Wright and Girl’s Best Friend (photo) have strong symbolic and iconographic presence. She combines layers of mirrors, glass and paint (impossible to photograph) to create spatial illusions with shifting planes of light and color that pull viewers into the work’s depths. She scrapes away part of the silvered back of the mirrors and pours liquid colors to fill the void. Working blind, she senses how the colors will add dimension to the finished artworks. 

focus-dec13-1“At the age of five, sunlight chose me. I saw a beautiful design in a  museum where the interior colors of the frame reflected by the sunlight captured me spiritually. Since then, I have loved to bounce light and color around. I collect scrap glass and mirrors and assemble them to create worlds dominated by the refraction of light.” The ambience of Ajijic has become Monica’s inspiration.

“The clear light at Lakeside enables me to experience the beauty of sunlight and to capture it in the layers of mirrors and glass—to reflect the light over and over before releasing it.”  Monica’s works, initially influenced by her career as an Interior Designer, have become the works of a creative artist. Her more symbolic works function as icons that express our cultural preoccupation with technology.

Icons touch things the mind already knows. They are hybrid objects, cultural statements that reflect desires and feelings, and encapsulate ideas and beliefs. They are reference points—like Rita Hayworth as a Hollywood pinup, Gloria Steinem’s Wonder Woman fixation, Jasper John’s neo-Dada American flag as a cold war symbol, and Andy Warhol’s Marilyn Monroe as a cultural object.

The art works of both Julie and Monica may be enjoyed at Sol Mexicana, #13 Colon in Ajijic.


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