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  from The Mill Valley Record

“In my paintings I reflect the world around me,” says Sausalito artist Monjett.

In that reflection he gives us movement, the motion of the dance, space, color, balance and humor – sometimes biting, sometimes gentle, as in his “Music America,” a series of 50 paintings now in progress. Still, if the world amuses Monjett it is not a cold objective amusement. The paintings express warmth that tells us he does not separate himself from the world he speaks of.

A Mill Valley resident for 12 years, the Nebraska-born artist moved to Sausalito in 1976. From his large loft studio he creates his highly individualistic mixed-media collage paintings. He juxtaposes clothing, objects he has found, oil-based house paints, shoes, boots and other materials - all to create tree-dimensional illusions that almost leap out of his paintings and into the room.
 “I’ve always felt a strong emotional attraction to music,” he says. “Music is the perfect medium for expressing anything.”

Monjett’s early childhood helps explain the music in his paintings. “ My father was a jazz and blues man. My mother was a classical pianist. Our home was always saturated with music of all kinds as far back as I remember.

Arriving in California after graduating from the University of Nebraska, he was further influenced by his work as a scenic designer for the San Francisco Opera in the early 1970s. But, the joyous musical offerings came much later.

During his seven-year stay in San Francisco, his work had a very different flavor from the bright collages of today. The Vietnam War was still in progress. Monjett’s paintings reflected both the war and the social unrest in the country.

“I've spent a certain amount of time doing social commentary. I’ve lost any desire to do that any more. So much that happens in the world is an ongoing tragedy. Right now I prefer to reach for the joy, mirror that for the people. Joy is part of our process, too”

From March 5-29 Monjett will exhibit 25 paintings from his collection, including several from the “Music America” series, at the Edward S. Curtis Gallery, 247 Sir Francis Drake Boulevard in San Anselmo.

A highly prolific artist, Monjett has canvasses on the walls of offices, institutions and private homes across the United States. His subject material is highly eclectic. Always, whatever the painting, the leading impression from the work is one of movement. In the music series this is to be expected. But you can see it everywhere. In “Condominium” blocks of cement seem mobile; black windows move against the sky; sweeping ribbons of string, paint, rope dance over the canvas as in a Jackson Pollack.

Drawn to the mystical as well, there are several mare esoteric pieces that are extremely evocative. “Oath Giver” presents a white gossamer robe emerging from the canvas, bearing sacred symbols, beckoning to the viewer.

Monjett’s interests are diverse, reflecting a broad education. With a lifelong interest in history, he majored in history with an art minor when he attended the University of Nebraska. He has done post-graduate work at the University of Toronto, Lone Mountain College in San Francisco, the San Francisco Art Institute and the San Francisco Art Academy.
 
“Because historical figures, persons in mythology attract me, I sometimes draw my paintings through that process. I get inspiration from many things.
 
“People have to find a spot within them selves to direct them to something positive. I would like to think that my art – the joy that it brings or the insight might help people in their own process."

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