For most of her career, Mona Santos has painted flowers. For this reason, her eyes are attuned to floral arrangements, in the wild or otherwise, always composing and focusing in on points of interest, like the smallest but most beautiful buds or the humility of the leaves that embrace her life-like blooms. Santos’ arrangement is intuitive, moving things around and isolating the most compelling parts of the composition until she is satisfied with the resulting image.
There is a meticulousness to her work, a reverence in her dedication to capturing the light and shadows in the perfect way. In Recent Paintings, it is no different. In five new paintings of blooms, a red piece a diptych, each of them a widescreen crop of a much bigger arrangement, Santos paints each dapple of light with care. The closeness of the flowers gives room for her to play with scale, an invitation for a closer look. She distills light, and shadow, and colour so resolutely, one is left to wonder just how it is possible to be so enthralled by a single petal.
Santos takes the mundanity of flowers and finds a way to celebrate them, to give respect to beauty that needs not be explained or manufactured, only seen and admired and sometimes, perhaps often, get lost in.
— Carina Santos