100 Canadians to Watch: The Artists: Monica Tap

ARTIST: She calls it “rummaging around in art history.” But that is a modest description for the complexly layered canvases the 35-year-old Halifax-based artist paints. Her exhibition Reprise, on display last year at Halifax’s Dalhousie Art Gallery, was a series of 14 large oil paintings, mostly of flowers—but contained subtle references to the works of 17-century painter Rachel Ruysch, as well as to Claude Lorrain, Leonardo da Vinci and Frank Stella. Explains Tap: “I’m trying to find a conversation with the past, to find a place between abstraction and allusion.” Originally from St. Albert, Alta., she gave up a civil service job to paint full time and later moved to Halifax to complete a master of fine arts degree at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. “I decided,” says Tap, “it was either time to go for it or quit painting.”

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