In the heart of Oakland, California, Monica Canilao spends her days stitching, painting, printing, and breathing life into the refuse that dominates our time and place. Moving across media, sometimes with friends and sometimes alone, Canilao makes a delicate visual record of the personal and communal. She received a BFA from California College of Arts and Crafts and has shown in galleries, community spaces, abandoned places and … worldwide.
The only constant in my life has been that I've always wanted to be creating, building, drawing, altering. My art practice is a way to generate a personal and living history. My community and collaborators, my roots and their nearly lost traditions, my neighborhood and its trash piles are all integral, necessary parts of my life and art. The way I go through the world, the beauty of people’s effort throughout time, and their subsequent decay end up in my pieces. I look as much to the loving meticulousness of handicrafts as to the techniques of high art. Taking something as ordinary as wood pulp or cloth and passing thread through it can make common things beautiful and useful.
From boats to portraits, everything I make I use to reimagine the meaning of home, the power of collectivity and the imprint history has left on me. By using images that are rooted in commonalities of personal history, I attempt to create a visual vernacular that resonates beyond verbal and individual differences. These works bear an encoded meaning with the intent to trigger some lost need, a feral want for human connection, and collaboration with others and the living world. The more I experience, the deeper I dig, the more I realize is possible and that means I can’t always predict where I am headed.
Art is a way to communicate and engage with others transcending distance, time, or place. My images and installations, like the communities and experiences they draw upon, become symbiotic. My life and art are modes of intentional living borrowing from native traditions and contemporary subcultures. You take care of one another. You draw strength and nourishment from your roots. You use and appreciate what you have.
2007 February 1 - Illustrious, Compound Gallery, Portland, OR March 9 - Femmes Forces, Ai Gallery, Chicago, IL April 15 - Less is More, 111 Minna Gallery, San Francisco, CA May 11 - Group show, Galleria De La Raza, San Francisco, CA May 21 - Ethsix Magazine Launch, Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco, CA June 8 - porch Show, Cinders Gallery, Brooklyn, NY July 19 - Mauled by Tigers Benefit art show, Chicago, IL July 5 - Benefit show for The Autopsy, Melbourne, Australia July 27 - Show with The Polariod Kid, Paper Boat Gallery, Milwaukee, WI August 2 - Fecal Face Art Party, 111 Minna Gallery, San Francisco, CA September 28 - Downy Bird Art Kingdom Book Release, Onsix Gallery, SF, CA October 4 - Ethsix Magazine release, 111 Minna Gallery, San Francisco, CA October 25 - Heap with Swoon + David Ellis, Black Rat Press, London, England Oct 19 - Jan 13 - Convergence: CCAC Alumni, Oakland Airport, Oakland, CA November 17 - Pachanga, Galeria de la Raza, San Francisco, CA 2008 February 2 -Group Exchange show, 96 Gillespi, London, England March 25 - Feral, with Swoon, The Luggage Store Gallery, San Fancisco, CA March 7 - Balls Out Show, Grass Hut, Portland, OR April 5 - Hope Springs Eternal,Needles and Pens. San Francisco, CA May 9 - Combine, BLVD Gallery. Seattle, WA August 1 - One long funeral song with Kyle Ranson, Space 1026. Philadelphia, PA August 9 -'There: new art from oakland' di Rosa Preserve, Napa, CA September 4 - All cut up @ Roebling Hall. New York, NY September 7 - mural with David Ellis- unveiling @ Deitch Porjects. Long Island City, NYC October 2 - LOCALS ONLY @ RVCA. San Francisco, California October 11 - Art Makes Eye Contact @ Secret Project Robot. Brooklyn, New York Ocotber 23 - Contain @ Anonymous Gallery. New York, New York November 29 - Bobby Hutton Memorial Benefit @ The Luggage Store Gallery. San francisco, CA december 5 - spirit animals/ animal spirit @ sweet hickory. Bloomington, Indiana
Fellowships and Awards-
February 2011- Eureka Fellowship through the Fleishacker Foundation