Monica Banks

Brains In Our Arms

Artist Statement: Brains In Our Arms
Long misunderstood, underestimated and feared, the octopus is now known to be a highly intelligent problem solver who uses tools to build his own environment and play games. Typically a loner, his exceptional eyesight makes him highly sensitive to his surroundings and he can change shape dramatically to fit through a space the size of his eye or change the color and texture of his skin to communicate with others or hide from predators. In addition to the one in his large head, the octopus has a brain in each of his dexterous and curious arms. Essentially, the artist in Covid-19 isolation is a land octopus.

Monica Banks is a sculptor who has been creating public works, site-specific installations, and showing work in museums, galleries, and other venues for 30 years. She created “Faces: Times Square,” a block-long sculpture which stood in Times Square from 1996-2009, for which she won an award from The Public Design Commission of the City of New York. Her permanent public works are located in the Bronx, Binghamton NY, Charlotte NC, and West Nyack NY. She has done site-specific installations at The Carriage House at the Islip Art Museum, The Rockland County Center for the Arts, The American Craft Museum, Spring Break Art Show, and other venues. Permanent collections holding her work include Parrish Art Museum, The University Museum of Contemporary Art at University of Mass. Amherst, Islip Art Museum, and Daura Gallery at Lynchburg College.

Banks started her current body of work in 2014. This work has been covered by The New York Times, Brooklyn Rail, East Hampton Star, Sag Harbor Express, and Hamptons Art Hub, among other publications, and has won awards from Jocelyn Miller, assistant curator at MOMA PS1; Benjamin Genocchio; Marla Prather while curator in the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art NYC; and the curators at the Heckscher Museum of Art. In 2016, Jorge Pardo selected her work to be shown alongside his own work at the Parrish Art Museum, “Artists Choose Artists.” She has had solo or dual shows at Sara Nightingale Gallery in Sag Harbor every year since 2015.