Visible reserve

No need to surrender to the gesture nor to set an obvious trace of the effects of the work on the subject to succeed in showing the painter beyond that work. There is a way to be present in a painting that has to do, however, with the sensitivity, thoroughness and a kind of extreme modesty that, like when someone avoids leaving any trace of their pasage-is to erase all physical traces in the  process than the very presence of the painting. The paradox is that, after all the laborious work put into it to meet the expectations, it still leaves a trace of the hand that created the work which creates a peculiar tension between the extreme objectivity of the work and the recent subjectivity of someone who has tried to hide behind it, something that evokes the expression of Paul Valéry: visible reserve. 
That is the tension that gives strength to the painting of Monica Dixon. As an artist trained in the American tradition, she displays a passion for reality that is not afraid of the banal, because she also relies on the power of art to make it hers. The way she works, her technical skills, make her a true artisan. The delicacy with which she applies to the transubstantiation of ordinary objects in her still lifes, or anonymous figures immersed in urban scenes that are sometimes tinged with melancholy and gentle irony, reveals both a solid faith in reality and supply of topics, in the wisdom of her gaze to select the angle of reality that deserves to be highlighted and, especially, in the painting itself as a laborious alchemy that gives us a valuable plasticity work.  And so, ultimately, in her paintings the texture is the paint itself, not the ceramic bowl or glass that Dixon created with virtuosism, and the clean cololrs, almost flat, to the edge of Pop style;  or, from them, the compositions challenge the viewer with an autonomy that is fully pictorial, which owes nothing to the figures that were created at first, like one who took care of and painted them, even though the figures are still present in the canvas . Monica Dixon paints with such conviction and diligence to obtain, simultaneously, the two great distillates that can be obtained in the process of pictorial creation: beauty and mystery. A free and clean beauty, consciously serious and a mistery without pathos, as transcription of her own way of seeing the world. She and the world have been deliberately in the background, after the emphatic presence of her works.

J. C. Gea
February, 2006

Text for the exhibition catalog in the Murillo Gallery, March 2006