"I discovered Monique's work when she entered a juried show, Taos Art Insurgency, we had here on Kit Carson Road," says Rob Nightingale of Wilder Nightingale Fine Art. "I was so happy she entered, I love her unique style of capturing life in Northern New Mexico, it's a whole new journey."
The artist's intriguing work focuses on the intricate patterns her eye discovers in the greater landscape.
"Clouds above me often veil the mountains, sometimes below me they obscure the valley; I find intricately drawn patterns all around me," Belitz notes in her artist statement. "I have the choice between mountains, an ocean of sagebrush, the Río Grande gorge, piñon forests or a multitude of wildflowers. I can breathe freely in this wide open space. I pay my respect to the forces that shaped the land, which in turn shaped the local cultures, as well as to the fauna and flora that inhabits it, both in my art and my life."
For the last three years, she has created what she calls "hybrid paintings," which are layered with detailed ink drawings, on an underpainting that gives them depth and interest.
These multi media pieces typically include small cultural vignettes that "attest to the viability of all three local cultures - Indian, Hispanic and Anglo: traditional activities such as collecting piñon nuts and carrying home baskets with wood, or contemporary scenes such as fishing, walking dogs or working in the garden." Belitz explains.
"I often insert these humans with an outline only, without color, to indicate they are part of the landscape and not the main topic. The more powerful force is nature, towering over them, allowing them to exist."
These intricate and lush pieces invite the viewer to slow down and discover life in the northern Sangre de Christo mountains, and although the landscape plays a big role, the overarching topic is typically what the artist refers to as an emotional "snapshot."
"By re-using old watercolors, prints and drawings to create collaged landscapes, I set the stage - nothing is made explicitly clear; therefore, the viewer has to actively participate in finding meaning. Certain elements, such as the traditional burden baskets that I use in my hybrid paintings as well, are re-interpreted as burden baskets filled with life's troubles, trauma and psychological pain. Viewers relate to these pieces easily, as they recognize themselves in the re-interpreted pieces."
"Everyday, her work garners a lot of attention from collectors and the casual onlooker," said Rob Nightingale.