Galina Munroe: Ode to the Bee Balm

February 17, 2023 - March 10, 2023

NBB GALLERY is proud to present “ODE TO THE BEE BALM” by Galina Munroe.

The title of this show refers to the lyric poem typically of elaborate or irregular metrical forms and expressive of exalted and enthusiastic emotion. Munroe’s works encapsulate precisely this, the tempo of these paintings is like an ‘ode’ - they are elaborate, irregular, enthusiastic and evoke a sense of rest, care and soothe.

The artist's ornamental paintings bounce between spontaneous floral figuration and restful portraits of chairs. Munroe came across the flower ‘bee balm’ whilst researching plants with healing powers. Bee balm is known for its soothing effect on the nervous system and as an antidote to bee stings. What awoke her interest in portraying the chair, was its symbolic of momentary or fleeting rest. The chair as an instrument of rest invites us to sit down and begin a conversation which signifies not only the resting of the body but also the focusing of the mind. The duality between these two central themes and elements within her paintings instigates a loosely narrated conversation between the expressive language of flowers and the reflective symbolism of the chair. In her studio this conversation progressed into a way to talk about self soothing as a sort of ‘balm’ to life.

There is a sense of impatience in the imagery of the works that opposes the more patient practice of carefully collaging the grid of paper underneath and layering of thick gloss that happens in the build up to the moment of painting a ‘final image’. It all comes together on the surface, the tempo dances between patience and impatience. Munroe considers this to be a reflection of the constantly jumping pace we all dance between, seeking moments of rhythm and structure with interludes of spontaneous thoughts and impressions.