Monica Rezman: A Busy Artist With an Elephant in the Room

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Monica Rezman is ready for her upcoming exhibition at Salon Gallos. Photo: Patricia Robert / Yucatán Magazine

Getting into Monica Rezman’s studio takes a minute or two. It’s on a busy Mérida street in the Centro, and the contemporary house she built behind it in 2021-22 is set way at the back of the deep property, with a garden in the space in between, so it’s a bit of a hike.

Appropriate since when I asked her to describe her process, she said, “I make two- and three-dimensional work, and I think about the space in between.”

When I visited recently, she opened her front door with her usual matter-of-fact, sunny disposition to an unrestored colonial that houses her studio, at once both organized and strewn with colorful materials used in the making of that 2D and 3D work.

Monica Rezman and her trusty Singer workhorse. Photo: Patricia Robert / Yucatán Magazine

She studied painting and textile design at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and she still maintains a residence there in the city where she was born and raised. At SAIC, she spent a study-abroad year at the Instituto Allende in Mexico, and that seemed to set a course for her return.

In 1993, she studied classical drawing and painting at the Florence Academy of Art in Florence, and in 1999 and 2002, Rezman was awarded an Art-in-Residence in Gujarat, India, one of the world’s most revered craft communities in textiles.
Speaking of artists in residence, in May of 2023, she had a month-long one in Mexico City at JO-HS gallery, where she was recently in a group show. Her one-person show, “The Meeting of Two Oceans,” in Chicago at 65Grand opened on Jan. 19, and her exhibition (curated by our cover gal, Tiffany Meesha Thompson) opens at Salon Gallos in Mérida on Feb. 1 and runs through March 30.

The Salon Gallos show is titled “The Elephant in the Dark.” It is named after a poem written by Rumi that essentially goes like this:

Five men who have never seen an elephant go into a dark room where an elephant is standing. They each feel it, trying to guess what it is. However, each of them only feels one part of the elephant and bases his guess on that one part. One man thinks the leg is a column, one thinks the ear is a fan, and so on.

The poem comes from an old Indian fable; in the original version of the story, the men are blind. Here is Rumi’s take on it, translated by Coleman Barks:

“I loved this story because it can be related to art in the sense that everyone has their version of what they see. One perspective of the story is that it offers fresh thinking, hope, and the ability to look at what we think we know in new ways.”

Follow Monica on Instagram at @monicarezman and see more of her work at monicarezman.com.

Trey Speegle
Trey Speeglehttp://treyspeegle.com/
Trey Speegle is a writer, photographer and artist who uses his huge collection of vintage paint-by-number paintings to create new works that resonate with a broad, pop appeal. His Speegle Studio, RePOP Shop, and Gallery 52 are housed in a former gas station in Jeffersonville, New York, in the Catskill Mountains. He divides his time between Upstate New York and Mérida, Mexico, where he has a second home, studio and gallery space and is Yucatán Magazine's Creative Director.
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