“I always think making art in this world we’re living in is political,” Ms. Monk said. “But I’ve never been a ‘pointy’ kind of artist. Am I supposed to be telling people to call up the guys to not have fracking?”
This quote from Meredith Monk lets us know that her work doesn’t readily reveal her thoughts or feelings. In “On Behalf of Nature,” Monk is attempting to narrate as nature as opposed to speaking about it.
Monk is more interested in creating an experience that distracts the viewer from the difficult world that we are living in.
As a student of Buddhism, she takes on several aesthetic characteristics that are connected to Buddhism such as silence, stillness, flexible time, and presence.
Her use of flexible time is something of particular interest in her work, “Ellis Island.” She refers to time as a “sculptural element, compressing it and extending it. This idea of simultaneous time is something I do a lot in my work.” She also uses color and black and white to portray present and past. Lewis Hines photography of immigrants was of great influence to Monk in use of black and white film.
Monk’s most famous work, “16 Millimeter Earrings,” was created in a time (1966) prior to vast technological advances. In this piece, Monk was able to create perceptual imagery through the use of her creativity. Layering prop, multiple audio tracks, lighting, framing, projections; all very simple elements, was able to create synaesthetic optical illusions.