by Lennis Moore
Preus Library
November 2 - December 15, 2011

Lennis Moore

"I grew up on a small farm located on the Turkey River in northeast Iowa, and enjoyed a traditional small-town Iowa upbringing.  Public school, Luther League, and the season-driven life on the farm would shape me into an adult.  My father broke his leg in a farming accident the summer before my junior year in high school.  Suddenly, my care-free life changed as I assumed my father’s responsibilities on our family farm.  I would quickly gain a new understanding of myself and I would be forever changed.

Somehow, I think I always knew that I would leave that little valley.  I knew I was not cut out to be a farmer, but the hard work and discipline required on the farm would never leave me.  Nor, as it turns out, would the visual and sensory images of the land.

As a student at Luther College in the late 1960s, I was suddenly presented with new perspectives and exciting possibilities that would transform me as a person and as an artist.  It would be Orville Running, who would provide me with a solid foundation in art, and Doug Eckheart, who would make me understand I had to work hard to maximize my talents.  Their words still flow through my daily life.   

I met my wife, Sandy (1974), at Luther.  Each of our three children, Lucas (1997), Benjamin (2002), and Catherine (2006), graduated from Luther.  Sandy retired after a life-long career as a Language Arts teacher.  Her compassion for young people coupled with her passion for teaching has transformed the lives of countless students. 

Lucas programs computers and remains a musician with his trombone.  His wife Erin plays the pipe organ and they are the proud parents of little Amber Rose.  Benjamin spent a lot of time in my studio as a child.  He has an MFA in painting from the University of Iowa and is currently a member of the art faculty at Luther.  Catie is fluent in Spanish and taught at Iowa City Regina for several years.  She is now serving in Kyrgyzstan as a Peace Corps volunteer with her husband, Robert Scott.

I have continued to be a printmaker and illustrator since my college days, and have always maintained some sort of studio in my home.  My prints are predominately landscapes or portraits, and tend to be fairly simple and straight forward.  My color selection has become a more varied palette, my sense of scale has altered, and my cut marks and drawn lines seem different to me; but still reflect those made years ago.

I once thought that my most recent work was the best image I would ever create, until I came to understand that it is a creative process, a constant evolution of my perceptions of the world around me. I no longer perceive the land in the same way I did as a young man, but it is not the land that has changed. 

The two images of Catie were included in the show because they depict her as a young girl and as a young woman. I plan to do another image of her when she returns from Kyrgyzstan.  It will be interesting to me how I approach the new image as I will be viewing her as an adult woman - both of us transformed by the journey."

-Lennis Moore

Artist's Statement

"I am deeply connected to the rural landscape.  Both emotionally and intellectually my sense of place and my relationship to it resonate in my work.  Farmsteads similar to the place I grew up, worked, or imagined figure predominately in my woodcuts.  Often they are places now vulnerable – to nature, its rhythms, and its uncertainty.  My images preserve, remember, and eulogize the family farm.

I often work from digital images allowing me to easily manipulate and easily reverse the images before drawing on the matrix.  Once the key block is rendered, I wash the surface with brown stain so I can more easily see my marks.  The next stage is straight forward – cut the block, select the paper, and print the image. 

For color woodcuts, I normally create additional blocks. But even as I cut them, I print them in my mind; relying on past successes and failures to help guide the process.  The feel of the gouge slicing through wood, the hiss of the brayer as it rolls up ink, and the first glance at a new image just released from the matrix will always thrill me."

-Lennis Moore