Toomey Tourell Fine Art is pleased to present a solo exhibition of new work by the Bay Area based artist Monica Lundy, entitled House of the Strange Women.

Born in Portland Oregon and raised in Saudi Arabia, Lundy spent her formative years between the US and the Middle East. During that time she traveled around the world, experiencing different cultures and their traditions. This began shaping her awareness of, and curiosity about, divisions in cultural and social perceptions – particularly in regards to women.

The exhibit House of the Strange Women is a series of paintings based upon San Francisco’s Police Department mug-shots of individuals who were arrested for prostitution in the early 20th Century. The work has involved extensive research into historical documents and archival photographs.

The history of incarceration in SF is investigated using a diverse range of non-traditional, interdisciplinary painting materials and techniques, which include coffee, ink, gouache, pulverized charcoal, mica flake and acrylic gel. Each painting is the result of deliberate consideration into the relationship between subject matter, materials and method of application.

These works, while gritty and mesmerizing, are poignant and beautiful,as they explore the polarizing arenas of seduction and danger. Working directly from the photographs that often depict physical assault, these paintings evoke questions about situations in which the criminal may also be the victim. These works investigate the very nature of “criminality” and how that perception changes as society itself evolves.

This exhibition provides a platform in which the public may engage with the work, and aspires to promote discourse about the vibrant history of prostitution in San Francisco. Most importantly, these portraits are a meditation on the dispossessed, memory and individual stories that have been erased in time.