Ana Monteiro is a figurative artist whose practice is a reflection upon the concept of the Self, through an aesthetic that is shaped around the idea of symbolism and magical realism. The existential angst, and the infinite wonderful ways through which we try to root ourselves amid the great unknown, are a constant feature of her work.
In her creative process, she mingles the contemporary with the distant past: starting with a photographic and digital composition process, she then dives into a more “classical” approach, building her paintings through several layers – from the “imprimatura” to the “verdaccio” underpaintings, until the final veils of vibrant color. All these steps, although time-consuming, allow her to create figures and environments of great detail and vibrancy, and have, at the same time, a symbolic charge by creating a connection with the ways of the past. The importance of memory, both individual and collective, is a constant presence in her works. In them, this link is made both by the painting techniques as by the integration in the artworks of subtle details that take us back to visual references from our collective pictorial past.
Through her imagery, she creates tales about the dyed skin of our identity: the memory and the time behind it. The Reality, the fictions, and the impenetrable gap that rips between the two. The “multiphrenia” of the self, the masks. The real and built identities: the cocoons that protect us from the Other and the walls that hide us from ourselves. The fog that dampens the past and the pitch-black that blinds the days yet to come. And us. In the middle of everything. Lucid and blind. Lost, proud, and naked. Trying, wonderfully, to understand. She contemplates the discomfort and makes it an aesthetic object, so it may be contemplated as well: as form, as thought, as wonder.
From an early age, sketchbooks and pencils were her companions: windows through which she created worlds where she immersed herself. She holds an MA and a BA in Painting from the Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of Porto. With her master’s degree, she developed a thesis that interweaves the pictorial portrait with the idea of social mask.
Monteiro cites many influences in her journey: from Botticelli to Christian Schad and Félix Vallotton and finds in the poetry of Fernando Pessoa an inexhaustible source of inspiration. Writing is actually a crucial part of her creative process: the narratives she wants to build are grounded in both pictorial and written form, interweaving words, and brushstrokes.
Her work has been mentioned in several art and cultural publications, like Realism Today, Artit, The Guided Artist, RUA Magazine, e-Cultura, Mod Portrait 2020 Special Catalog, amongst others. Ana’s paintings have been featured in numerous group and solo exhibitions since 2011 and are represented in several private and corporate collections.