Aaron Monu

“Inward, Upward and Onward”

19 January – 25 February 2023

NicholsAtlanta is delighted to announce a solo-exhibition featuring new paintings by the Atlanta-based, contemporary artist Aaron Monu (b. 1992, Tampa Florida). 

Aaron Monu is a self-taught, multi-disciplinary artist and designer. In general, his work studies mental, physical, spiritual, and social health and the role each plays in navigating our perceived realities. More specifically, Monu challenges the notion that modern capitalism is our salvation and reimagines the definition of triumph as freedom from the egoic mind, love for self, and realizing our connection to the spiritual and physical worlds. Through the lens of abstraction, he seeks to find meaning and truth through the unseen forces that shape our existence; primarily positive as patience and grace unites the subject matter of each painting at NicholsAtlanta. 

In his first solo exhibition, entitled Inward, Upward, and Onward, Monu exhibits seven new paintings that represents the transcendent journey towards peace and personal enlightenment. (Seven represented and communicated in ancient near eastern and Israelite culture a sense of “fulness” or “completeness.”) The works, inspired by the artist’s own spiritual journey, interprets the emotional energy found during times of growth and how that developed energy results in a brighter future.

“In popular media, heaven is often depicted as a kingdom in the clouds, but with this series, my intent was to visualize heaven as a vibrant, ongoing voyage that eventually intersects with and elevates others (Monu).”

The work’s ascetic, windswept beauty consist of vivid, luscious pinks and yellow with a hint of blue and purple in paintings such as A Softer Journey (2023) and Pink Matter (2023).

Monu’s notable projects includes Original Artwork Auction, Roots Fund x Zachys Benefit Auction (New York, New York); a real estate staging at Zillow, Atlanta, GA; Wine Label Art Design, Bokisch Winery (Lodi, California); and, “Change Has No Curfew” Art Charity Project, (New York, New York); among others. 

He has participated in selected group exhibitions such as MOCA GA Art Auction 2022 (Atlanta, GA); “Artist Forum Marketplace” (Atlanta, GA); “Black Boy Art Show” (Atlanta, GA). 

His showing at NicholsAtlanta is the artist’s first solo exhibition.  

Monu’s art is in private collections in Atlanta GA; New York, New York; Napa, CA; Los Angeles, CA; Miami, FL; and, Paris, France. 

Demetri Burke exhibits paintings in this show with a focus on Black masculinity, showcasing the everyday magic and vulnerability of those under said theme. Digging deeper, the paintings aim to provide a biological and historical narrative of Black males in America.

Burke received his BFA in Studio with a concentration in Drawing, Painting, and Printmaking from Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA. He has had a solo exhibition at the MINT Gallery, Atlanta. His work has been included in group exhibitions at NYC Culture Club, New York; Southwest Arts Center, Atlanta; New York Academy of Art, New York; YoungArts Gallery, Miami; among others. Residencies have included The Hambidge Center, MINT Gallery Leap Year Residency (2021-2022), and the Andrew W. Mellon Undergraduate Curatorial Fellowship Program (2021 Mellon Summer Academy, High Museum of Art). Along with exhibiting throughout the U.S., his work has been featured in various publications including New American Paintings South, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and ArtsATL.

José Ibarra Rizo’s portraits document individuals and their diverse experiences as migrants or children of migrants in the American South, aiming for the work to humanize an experience that is often misrepresented in the media and rarely found in fine art.

Rizo received his BA in Studio Art from Georgia College & State University, Milledgeville, GA. His solo exhibitions have included Atlanta’s Airport Atrium Gallery and the MINT Gallery, Atlanta. His selected group exhibitions consist of exhibiting at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia, Atlanta; Arts and Entertainment, Atlanta; and Swan Coach House Gallery, Atlanta. Some of his awards consist of Finalist in the Aperture 2022 Portfolio Prize; Lensculture B&W Photography Awards, 1st Place Single, Amsterdam; Artist Grant Recipient, IDEA Capital, Atlanta; and he was selected into the 2022-2023 Class of Leap Year Artists at MINT Gallery. His work has been recognized in such publications as Group Vine, The Guardian, and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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