Mona Chiang


Oil on canvas

36 x 48 inches


The Artist's Statement About Gestation:

Painted in May, 2020, while sheltering in place in Berkeley, California

I’ve been thinking about all the layers of destructive ideas and behaviors that humans have accumulated since birth. From greed to manipulation to hate to racism to outsized egos to a warped sense of worth. What if we could reconfigure time to shed ourselves of those burdensome layers? That’s what I tried to capture in the painting — the process of suspending time, reflecting, and purging.

The life-sized figures are floating in the void. They are distorted and not very dimensional. By stripping them of the formalities of the human structure, the narrative switches focus to the non-physical part of the human experience. 

The figures are in the fetal position. But instead of growing like a fetus before birth, these adults are doing the reverse. They are simplifying. The more layers one sheds, the closer to the raw canvas the body reaches. The underpainting and pencil marks are visible in certain areas. 

I applied scratches to the early layers of paint. These imperfections are exposed throughout the work; they are like scars. I hope the painting’s broken and unpolished appearance will exude a feeling of unfinished activity. After all, the human experience is uncomfortable, imperfect, and always evolving.


“I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn't say any other way... things I had no words for.”

~ Georgia O'Keefe

(510) 504-9988

700 Gilman St, Berkeley, CA 94710, USA

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