A Universal Truth

Space, to Monica Dixon, is a presence and an absence. It is also an instrument she wields with skilful precision to challenge our ideas and perception of our individual identities.

In “A Universal Truth”, Dixon explores the dichotomy between what we are and who we are. To do so, she takes a series of deceptively simple images and forces us to consider the division between the physical space of house – a structure we take for granted – and the social construct of a home. Through an adept manipulation of space and light, she builds a timeless world that is uninhabited by man or machine. 

Her exterior canvases depict structures painted with painstaking detail. Drawing inspiration from landscapes that evoke the works of Andrew Wyeth and Edward Hopper, Dixon’s mysterious houses sit calmly on vast plains and at the brink of anonymous interstate highways. As a counterpoint, her interiors present desolate staircases and hallways devoid of the details and context that differentiates a house from a home.

Dixon therefore creates dissonance by transforming the familiar into the unfamiliar, highlighting the house as a vessel for our distinct identities against a primal need for shelter. Through this, we are invited to consider own understanding of what a home is and means, forcing us to consider how we as individuals shape the spaces we inhabit and vice-versa.

By stripping away the very objects that give our lives meaning, she leaves us no choice but to look introspectively to fill the empty spaces we seem to know. And, it is our constant and perpetual search for belonging and acceptance that grounds this universal truth.


Benjamin NG - Co-founder Barnadas-Huang Art Gallery (Singapore)

Text for 'A Universal Truth' the exhibition catalog in Barnadas-Huang Art Gallery (Singapore) April 2014