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The Red Body

(view work)

The Red Body, 1994

This body of work was made possible by support from:
Fullbright Commission, NJ Council of the Arts
Straumur Artist Residency, The American Cultural Center and EIMSKIP


The paintings represented in this body of work are about journeys that make paths from the external world into the interior space of the individual. While the substance of the landscape has contributed to the language of these paintings, they are more than mere visual records. Instead the paintings are better understood as "memory effects,"
a vocabulary of visual forms that accumulate like vibrations. For this to take place, the view is always opened and exposed until it has destroyed itself as a closed substance, until we are left with something that is beyond stubborn matter – beyond the mere thingness of things. The paintings invoke vast expanses, stark spaces, and barrenness but more importantly they seem to manifest those unconscious resonances that linger in the speechlessness that fills one long after the view has disappeared.

The question of how to frame these spaces inevitably presents itself. The work resists the mastery of containment, of clear edges, of borders of inquiry. The representational “matter” floats beyond the edges of the frame. The relationship between the front and back of the canvas as well as that of the space of what is considered the painted object and the space of the wall are permeable. What the viewer implicitly understands from these pieces is that there is not a single view – that differ illuminations are possible. The paintings suggestively perform the relationship between self and the world that they work to remember. It is a memory of essences, of impressions that appear and then just as swiftly disappear. These arrangements can only give us partial meanings, or partial memories, as both always already are. These images are thoughtful glimpses into the beyond of surfaces.

We must not attempt to read these paintings the way we read or assemble a puzzle, for that would be to operate by the wrong logic. The creative gesture is endless; you keep on being born, you are sustained, carried to the end of a movement that is of an infinite origin and that appears in an infinite state of suspension. There is no one place to gaze in these paintings, no place and every place. They are space – space that moves, and holds still, and invites us in again at a different place. The emptied out places of the paintings, where literal spaces have been cut into the works, or where the “front” and “back” of the canvas have been spun around, produces the same resistance to mastery, to a single “view,” to any possibility of laying claim. One could talk about a feminine gaze or an environmental art, and surely one can, but then one is asked to fall silent and listen to the path of the wind through nothing but air. And to see where that silence leads.

– Kerry Moore