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Monika Behrens - BIO

As a painter, I am known for engaging with the historical traditions of still life, playfully reimagining knowledge and potential within these paintings. I have developed a practical model of looking, thinking and painting which provides new ways of seeing the still life painting genre.

My paintings deliver a new interpretation of the genre through large brightly coloured works that contrast colours and contain provocative combinations of old and new objects. Through multilayered detail, viewers discover deeper engagements that unfold in complex ways, between the stillness of the represented objects and the presence of the paintings. This method of working contributes to critical understandings of the history of painting within the context of contemporary still life painting.


2013 - 2017         PhD,  UNSW Art and Design,

                                   - Research title: Reimagining seventeenth-century Dutch still life: through a

                                      contemporary painting practice.

2004 - 07             Master of Fine Art, UNSW Art and Design,

1995 - 98               Bachelor of Fine Art, RMIT

Solo Exhibitions

2020           Space for Time, Martin Browne Contemporary, Sydney

2018            The Thinking Image, Martin Browne Contemporary, Sydney, NSW​

2017             Reimagining seventeenth-century Dutch still life: through a contemporary painting practice,                          UNSW Galleries, Sydney, NSW​

2016            The Hunting Trophy, Verge Gallery, Sydney, NSW​

2011              Standing Still, Gallerysmith, North Melbourne, VIC​

2010             Double Dutch, Breenspace, Waterloo, NSW​

                       1 Malaysia, Rimbun Dahan Gallery, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

2009            Have Your Cake and Eat it Too, Gallerysmith, North Melbourne, VIC

                       Salad Days, National Art School Gallery, Darlinghurst NSW

                        - Curated by Katie Dyer

2008               Hush Historical, Rehearsing the Australian History Wars, Gallerysmith, North Melbourne

                        - Opening night launched by Henry Reynolds

                       Battle Nullius, FirstDraft Gallery, Surry Hills, NSW

2007               Silent Bang, Ivan Dougerty Gallery, Sydney, NSW

Selected Group Exhibitions


                      Spellbound, UQ Art Museum, Brisbane

                      Summer Group Show, Martin Browne Contemporary, Sydney

                      Territory, Martin Browne Contemporary, Sydney

                      Autumn group show, Martin Browne Contemporary, Sydney

                      Auckland Art Fair, Martin Browne Contemporary

                      Sydney Art Fair, Martin Browne Contemporary

                      Sunshine Coast Art Prize, Caloundra Regional Gallery

2018             Analogue, RMIT Gallery, Melbourne (Curated by Tony Lloyd & Sam Leach)

                      Group Show, Martin Browne Contemporary, Sydney, NSW

                      Auckland Art Fair, Martin Browne Gallery, NZ

                      Melbourne Art Fair, Martin Browne Gallery

                      Sydney Contemporary, Martin Browne Gallery

                      Sunshine Coast Art Prize, Caloundra Regional Gallery, QLD

                      Fantasy, Martin Browne Contemporary, Sydney, NSW

2017             Group Show, Martin Browne Contemporary, Sydney, NSW

                      Nobody's Baby, Central Park, Sydney

                      Hyperbotanica, Gallerysmith, Melbourne

2016             EMSLA, Coffs Harbour Regional

2014             Painting Now, Galerie pompom, Sydney

                      Fleet, Metro Arts, Brisbane

                      Salon des Refuse, S.H.Ervin Gallery, Sydney

2013             Portia Geach 2013, S.H.Ervin Gallery, Sydney, NSW

                      Sulman 2013, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney

2012             Archibald 2012, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW

                      Portia Geach 2012, S.H.Ervin Gallery, Sydney, NSW

                      R & M Mc Givern, Maroondah Art Gallery Melbourne, VIS

                      Fishers Ghost, Cambelltown Art Centre, Cambelltown, NSW

                      We Australians, Federation Square, Melbourne, VIC

2011              Zooplasty, Helen Gory Galerie, Prahran, VIC

2010             Small, Breenspace, Waterloo, NSW

2009            Helen Lempriere Travelling Art Scholarship, Artspace, Sydney, NSW

                       Group Show, Breenspace, Waterloo, NSW

                       Origami High Street, Horus & Deloris, Sydney, NSW

2007             Helen Lempriere Travelling Art Scholarship, Artspace, Sydney, NSW

                       ABN AMRO Emerging Artist Award, ABN AMRO Foyer, Sydney

                       Smash Hits, Paramatta Studio Gallery, Parramatta NSW

                       Square Dance, FirstDraft Gallery, Surry Hills, NSW

                       Unwrapped, United Gallery, Perth, WA

                       Matchbox Projects, Gosford Regional Gallery, Gosford, NSW

2006            Girl Band, Deloittes, Sydney, NSW

                       EEA21, Museum of Modern Art, Saitama Japan

                       Sulman Prize, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW

                       PRIMAVERA 2005 (touring), Muswellbrook Regional Arts Centre, Muswellbrook, NSW

2005            PRIMAVERA 2005, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, NSW

                       - Curated by Felicity Fenner

Collaboration (Behrens and Haley)

2019              Spellbound, UQ Art Museum, Brisbane

2014              FLEET Mop Projects Sydney (group show)

2011                Bedknobs and Broomsticks Mop Projects Sydney

2010              Pleasure Garden site specific installation, Penang, Malaysia



2019                        Cite Internationale des Arts, Paris, France

2016                        Bundanon Trust, Bundanon NSW

2013                        Artspace, Sydney, Australia – 6 Month Studio Residency

                                 Cite Internationale des Arts, Paris, France

2011                         Artspace, Sydney, Australia – 6 Month Studio Residency

                                 Cite Internationale des Arts, Paris, France

                                  Performing Arts Forum, St Erme Outre et Ramecourt, France

2010                        Cite Internationale des Arts, Paris, France

                                  Performing Arts Forum, St Erme Outre et Ramecourt, France

2009                       Rimbun Dahan, Malaysia, 12 Month Residency

2008                       National Art School, Sydney, Australia, 12 Month Studio Residency



National Gallery of Australia, Canberra

UBS Art Collection, Brisbane

Artbank, Melbourne and Sydney

Hijjas Kasturi Associates, Malaysia

Grants and Awards

APA - 2013 -2016

2013 - CAL Grant

2010 - Australian Council New Work Grant, Ian Potter Cultural Trust Grant

2007 - Australian Council New Work Grant

Selected Citations:

Andrew Frost, Interview: Monika Behrens, The Thinking Image 2018

Anna Dunhill, Monika Behrens, Art Guide Australia, Jan/Feb 2018, Issue 111, p.48​

Interview with Graham Harman, ON Journal, 2014

Behrens, A Delay in Time: The Political Still Life, DasSuperpaper Issue 32, 2014

Sapna Chandu, Manifestations of Now, Artlink Magazine, Vol 32 #3 2012, p.63

Eugene Barilo, “Monika Behrens@Gallerysmith”, Artsdiary 365, June 2011

Paul Flynn, “Profile: Monika Behrens” Artist Profile Magazine, issue 17, December 2011, p.89-92

Gina Fairley “Monika Behrens at Gallerysmith”, Art Asia Pacific, July/August 2011, p.92-93​

Robyn Stuart, “The Viewer’s View” Das Superpaper, December 2010, p.76

Runway, Issue 15: Lies, November 2009 - March 2010

Australian Art Collector, “What Now?” Issue 49 July – September 2009​

Marcus Browne, “Monika Behrens”, Das Superpaper February 2009

Runway, Issue 12: Make Believe, December 2008 - March 2009, Cover work

Holly Williams, “Emerging Art: It’s Not Simply Young Talent Time”, Art Market Report, Spring 06 p.36

Brad Hatch, “The Company Curator”, Financial Review (Boss Magazine) November 06 p.20

Barbara Flynn, “Girl Band”, (Catalogue), October 06 p.1

Dougal Phillips, “Interesting Times and Primavera”, Art and Australia, Autumn 06 p.440

Melanie Watkins, “COFA Cleans up”, COFA Magazine, 01.06 p.21

Craig Scutt, "Blind leading the blind, Censorship of the visual arts in Australia", NAVA Quarterly,12.05, p.4

Robert Buratti, “Strokes from the Primavera”, Drum Media. 10.05

Tracey Clement, “Cleanse the palette”, Sydney Morning Herald (Metro) 23-29.09.05, p26

Sunanda Creagh, "Young artists redraw perceptions of the land", Sydney Morning Herald, 08.09.05, p.14

Sarah Ranawake "Timeout", City Weekly, 08.09.05, p.23

Shaun Ellis "Left by the wayside", Wentworth Courier, 07.09.05, p.50

Adam Bennett, "Artists develop palette for a brush with tradition", MX, 06.09.05, p.2

Felicity Fenner, Primavera 05 Exhibition by Young Australian Artists, Museum of Contemporary Art, p.14-15

Alexa Moses, "Primavera takes on a new sheen after casting its net wide", Sydney Morning Herald, 24.05.05, p.14

Felicity Fenner, Undiscovered Artists, Australian Art Collector, issue 23, April 2005, p.99

Jeff Makin "In praise of Caravaggio", Herald Sun, 14.02.05, p. 121​

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