Paintings and Drawings by Ben Moore (LC '02)
Kristin Wigley-Fleming Fine Arts Gallery, Center for the Arts
April 9 - May 23, 2010
Ben Moore is an assistant professor of art at Luther College. He holds a bachelor of arts degree from Luther College and a master of fine arts degree in painting from the University of Iowa. He also studied printmaking and drawing at the Scuola Internazionale di Grafica in Venice, Italy. His work has most recently been shown at the Step Gallery at Arizona State University, the Grain Belt Artist Collective in Minneapolis, the Kinsey Institute at the University of Indiana and the Fox Tax Gallery in Minneapolis.
“How I’m Living,” is a sequence of paintings and drawings that Moore created over the last nine months that are loosely based on the idea of “things about to go wrong.” The images based on experiences in his social life prior to his arrival at Luther in 2008 and they are intended to confront viewers with events that the viewer will want to take part in or observe. Moore’s drawings combine silkscreen and graphite and incorporate imagery from the paintings in fluorescent colors.
For more information about Moore and his work, please visit his personal website.
“This show is comprised of new work created in the last nine months. It has been a very rewarding time for me, exploring these paintings and drawings in my studio. My work has always lingered around deviant behavior that hints at a larger problem. Imagery in previous work portrayed events that rendered the subject of the paintings very vulnerable to the viewer, all were painted from found photographs. A friend of mine found it interesting that these works seemed so intimate to me, yet I was not personally involved at all in the circumstances that spurred the original image.
I arrived at this body of work thinking about the authenticity of my paintings. I stumbled upon some old photographs from the last five years just prior to my teaching career at Luther College. Most images used are taken during my time at graduate school in Iowa City or working as a carpenter in St. Paul. The images are wholly mine and, at this moment, feel much more authentic to work with rather than using found images. My poorly taken photographs, from parties and bars, seemed to fit logically into a new body of work by putting me much closer to the subject matter rather than using a found image to fit into a larger conceptual context. They are somewhat of a false representation of who I have become, which I find amusing. The quality of the images seemed to be a simpler way of getting at calamity, or the moment right before the end; of relationships, friendships, a good time, or identity. The titles of the work are meant to caption the events or poor decisions of each piece.
So much of our public identity is defined by our behavior, and when our private behavior contradicts that, many times we lose a small portion of that public identity, or move towards deviance. These works, particularly the paintings, actively put the viewer in the present tense of the narrative, much the same as the work of Eric Fischl and Fairfield Porter. Though not as serene as Porter, or as disturbing as Fischl, the heightened sense of calamity, or things just about to go wrong, saturates the painting in the present.
The drawings exist in a very different place for me. They are much less prescribed than the paintings. Imagery is taken directly from the photographs and silkscreened intuitively onto the page with drawn marks added, when needed, to address the content of the image. Much of the color from the drawings reflects something that I have lost/am loosing that is very dear to me, so in a sense, these drawings have already gone wrong."