A carton of milk, flowers and naked bodies layer together to unfold the creativity of The University of Texas at Austin alumna, Maddie Mondshine, in the new exhibit “Intuition.”
Mondshine graduated from UT with a BFA in studio art and a bridging discipline in media, cultural and identity studies in May 2019.
The “Intuition” exhibit showcases a collection of dynamic, curious and personal pieces Mondshine created between fall 2018 to spring 2019. She said the pieces are a body of work she designed during her senior year at UT. The exhibit is a part of the Gallery of Common Experience located in the Honors College Coffee Forum, and will be on display until Dec. 19.
The purpose of gallery is to showcase artwork corresponding with the 2019 Common Experience theme of “Truth.”
Shannon Faseler, art and design lecturer, is the gallery curator. Faseler is responsible for discovering artists willing to showcase their work for the exhibit.
Faseler said the location of the gallery is a great spot for students to interact with art in an informal setting.
“It puts art in the space of the students and encourages them to contemplate things in a different way,” Faseler said.
Faseler said the artwork in the “Intuition” exhibit reveals the emotional and intuitive responses Mondshine evokes in her personal life.
“She’s not second-guessing or overthinking herself,” Faseler said. “She’s working intuitively and responding to things in her own way.”
Mondshine said she had Faseler as a lecturer for three studio design classes during her time at UT. She and Faseler formed a great relationship and continued to remain in contact when Faseler transferred to Texas State fall 2019.
Through their connection, Faseler offered Mondshine the opportunity to showcase her work at the 2019 Gallery of Common Experience exhibit.
The exhibit features 10 pieces of artwork. Five of the pieces are oil on canvas, three are graphite on paper and two are pastel with graphite on paper.
Each piece showcases a series of layered images designed to invoke emotion or personal stories. The images used in Mondshine’s work come from a multitude of sources including, but not limited to, songs, memories and personal photographs.
Mondshine said although the layered elements may seem unrelated, she believes they belong together due to their visual compatibility and her own innate interpretation of each.
During the design process, Mondshine said she has yet to figure out where she pulls her inspiration from. She said it is difficult to explain where the root of her ideas stem from, as it is usually not until a piece is completed when she can identify how and why she was influenced to create it.
When she first began creating art, Mondshine said she had a difficult time discovering her style. She said after opening herself up to experimenting with her work, she was able to evolve into her own unique style. It was not until this year Mondshine said she began relying on her gut-feeling to create images the way she does.
She said the exhibit relates to the Common Experience theme because it showcases her intuition: her highest form of truth.
“Intuition is something you know with your gut or your heart as opposed to something you can intellectualize or articulate perfectly,” Mondshine said. “It’s an internal knowing before you even have the time to think about it with your brain.”
Mondshine said the goal of “Intuition” is to encourage viewers to reflect on the messages within her work and discover how the art ties into their personal lives. She wants onlookers to gaze at her pieces and truly think about what they mean and why they are arranged together.
“If two people were looking at the same piece, they might have different ideas about it,” Mondshine said. “I think someone’s interpretation has more to say about themselves than it does about me. ”
Samantha Drodosch, UT social work senior, is a close friend of Mondshine.
Drodosch said Mondshine is a curious and authentic artist.
Over the years, Drodosch said she has witnessed Mondshine develop her own unique, artistic style. She said Mondshine’s work focuses on distorting and desexualizing the female body in an effort to challenge norms associated with the objectification of women.
In several of Mondshine’s pieces, the female body is seen layered or blended into random objects. The focal point of the pieces is not the body, but how the surrounding images fuse into its form.
Drodosch said after serving as a model for several of Mondshine’s pieces, she has developed a personal connection to Mondshine’s work. Being able to play a role in the desexualization of women has been healing for Drodosch.
Mondshine is open to different styles and perspectives around her and spends time studying other artists. During the time Mondshine was exploring her own style, Drodosch said the artist focused on opening herself up to the uncertainty of art.
“It’s been very beautiful to watch her explore what art means to her,” Drososch said. “The more she questioned and accepted that uncertainty, the more she has opened up.”