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Chapter Arts Centre: Richard Monahan: The Little Men - 16 Jan 2009 to 15 Mar 2009

Current Exhibition

16 Jan 2009 to 15 Mar 2009

Opening times: Monday – Sunday 10am–9pm
Chapter Arts Centre
Market Road
United Kingdom

Richard Monahan; Portrait With Boater Hat, Portraits with Wallpaper (Blue Period) series,
2008-ongoing, pen and collage on miniature wallpaper, size variable,
courtesy the artist.
Web Links

Marega Palser

Artist Links

John & Graham Beagles & Ramsay
Olaf Breuning
Nadia Hebson
Zoe Mendelson
Chris Evans
Anthony Shapland
Alex Gene Morrison

Artists in this exhibition: Richard Monahan

Assembly: Art in the Bar
Richard Monahan: The Little Men

Fri 16 Jan — Sun 15 March 2009
Opening times: Monday – Sunday 10am–9pm

Richard Monahan’s drawings are full of weird and obscure characters, each telling their own story. Many of his works are self-portraits, based on drawings of the artist’s expression in a mirror while others feature characters close to the artist, for instance his baby son.

In his portrait series, Monahan uses photocopied reproductions of his original drawings of characters’ heads and then draws bodies, arms and legs on to these photocopied heads. These figures are comical as well as unsettling; the heads of his characters are always too large while the bodies and legs are much too small and out of proportion. It lends his figures a humorous side and heightens the focus on his character’s facial expressions. They all tell different stories and convey different moods: some are angry, others sad, some are sleeping while others seem to cry out with laughter. Together, these head portraits form a unitary whole, a group of interacting characters who all appear to have some shared connection with each other, yet at the same time they remain separate entities.

In some of Monahan’s large-scale works, character’s heads are also enlarged and the focus again is on the facial expression. The artist creates these works by scratching into layers of paint, thus creating ‘drawings in paint’. Although these works could be described as paintings, it is important for the artist to emphasise that they also are drawings: "Drawing is a primal act and it is important that anyone seeing my works should know that I consider them all to be drawings. I feel drawing is more accurate to the intentions of the brain and less constrained, in general, than painting. Hence the intimacy one feels when confronted with a drawing."

In more recent works (some of which are shown here for the first time), the artist has created a Victorian wallpaper effect: the canvas is full of minutiae details, containing fairytale elements such as unicorns, tigers and peacocks and a girl and boy appear in a magical forest landscape. Human and animal characters in these drawings are often victims and perpetrators at once, it is unclear whether we’re faced with a depiction of their loss of innocence or whether these characters are innocently playing in the Garden of Eden before their fall.

Richard Monahan graduated from the Swansea Institute for Higher Education in 2004 and is currently undertaking a PhD in Fine Art (Drawing) at the same institution. Solo shows have included ‘Richard Monahan’, Ruthin Craft Centre, Ruthin, 2006 and ‘Drawn’, Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea, 2005. His work has been featured in a number of group exhibitions, including 'A Collection Of Drawings', Mission Gallery, Swansea 2008; ‘House of Fogg’, Bath Fringe Festival, Bath, 2006; ‘Interactive Drawing’, Exposure Gallery, Swansea, 2004; ‘Mr. Strieca', The Watershed, Bristol, 2004 and 'Dead Horse Art Productions', Tate Durden, Swansea, 2004.

The artist won the 1st Student Prize in the Oriel Davies exhibition ‘RE:Drawing Open 2008’ and is currently making new works for a forthcoming major solo exhibition at Oriel Davies which will be on display from 2 May to 27 June 2009, for details please visit

Richard Monahan is based in Swansea.

For more information about Richard Monahan, please contact the Visual Arts Department on 029 2031 1050, visual.arts@

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