William Monk

West of Nowhere

Sep 9 – Oct 21, 2023
Los Angeles
Exhibition Details:

William Monk
West of Nowhere
Sep 9 – Oct 21, 2023


1201 South La Brea Avenue
Los Angeles


Press Release


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Above: William Monk, Son of Nowhere IV, 2023, oil on canvas, 270 cm × 255 cm (8' 10-5/16" × 8' 4-3/8") © William Monk

Pace is pleased to present West of Nowhere, an exhibition of new works by William Monk, on view from September 9 to October 21 at its Los Angeles gallery.

The exhibition will mark the artist’s first solo show in LA since 2015. Monk’s recently released catalogue—produced by Pace Publishing on the occasion of his 2022 exhibition The Ferryman at the gallery’s New York space—will be available to view and purchase on-site at Pace in LA.

Monk is known for his atmospheric, vibrant compositions that feature mysterious and otherworldly forms. The artist’s semi-abstract paintings are deeply engaged with the rich tradition and history of the medium. He frequently creates works as part of different series, drawing on various sources of inspiration connected to his own experience.

West of Nowhere, focusing holistically on notions of transience and liminality, will spotlight two new bodies of work by the artist: large-scale landscapes that relate to the paintings he presented at Pace’s New York gallery last year and small-scale paintings based on Rorschach inkblot tests. Both these series are underpinned by questions of subjectivity and perception, particularly as they relate to ascriptions of meaning.

Like his other bodies of work, Monk’s new paintings evade easy categorization and interpretation. As the artist has said, “Only after the work is complete do I become aware of specific past experiences that helped to inform it— perhaps in the same way that a dream picks up on certain conscious moments and twists them.”

The four landscape paintings that will anchor Monk’s upcoming exhibition with Pace in LA suggest what French anthropologist Marc Augé termed “non-place,” or an anthropological space in which human relationships, histories, and identities are erased. In these works, mountainous landscapes rendered in patchworks of mottled gray, lilac, and ochre hues are partially obscured by groups of centrally situated, vertically oriented pillars that feature washes of color. The paintings in this body of work invite viewers to imagine themselves within the pictorial space while also, paradoxically, denying access to the very landscape depicted—and to any fixed meaning—by way of the pillars.

The six small-scale paintings in the second body of work on view in West of Nowhere directly references inkblots from Hermann Rorschach’s psychological tests, but the abstract, mesmeric shapes in Monk’s works are painted in bright, bold colors. Presenting unusual and psychedelic referents, these paintings reflect the phenomenon of pareidolia, in which the mind seeks to create meaning from indistinct, ambiguous, or nebulous visual stimuli.


Featured Works

William Monk, Son of Nowhere IV, 2023, oil on canvas, 8' 10-5/16" × 8' 4-3/8" (270 cm × 255 cm)
William Monk, Son of Nothing IV, 2023, oil on canvas, 45 cm × 70 cm (17-11/16" × 27-9/16")
William Monk, Son of Nothing I, 2023, oil on canvas, 45 cm × 70 cm (17-11/16" × 27-9/16")

Installation Views


William Monk on West of Nowhere

This new film explores West of Nowhere, an exhibition of new works by William Monk, on view through October 21 at our Los Angeles gallery. In his narration for our film—which features sweeping views of the presentation along with details of individual paintings—Monk shares details about his creative process.


About the Artist

William Monk’s scenographic works tap into the rich tradition of painting. Monk paints enigmatic and vibrant canvases using starkly divisional compositions. The artist often works in extensive series that gradually evolve over time. His paintings carry irregular intensities of detail, line, foreground, and background.

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