||Frank Moore, Lullaby II, 1997
image © Sperone Westwater
Painting in the Garden of Eartlhy Delights
Frank Moore’s luminous, meticulously detailed paintings seamlessly combine disparate influences such as Hieronymus Bosch, America’s Hudson River School painters, as well as Surrealists and social realists. He is one of a group of major artists emerging in the late 1980s and early 1990s including Kara Walker, Matthew Ritchie, and Matthew Barney, all of whom returned to the grand narratives and history painting that had previously been banned from modernist precincts.
With mordant humor and a deep love of nature, Moore painted fables and allegories of our dystopian environment. In his words, “providing a visual form for people to reflect on what their relationship with nature is…” Provoking, not preaching, he delighted in his task. In his series on the Niagara Falls, his childhood wonder at the majesty of the natural spectacle is tempered by the 350 chemicals polluting the glory of the Falls. He marveled at the genetic engineering that made it possible for him to survive for seven years with HIV but disdained the genetic engineering practiced in agriculture, a point he made by replacing kernels of corn with a computer keyboard in one of his paintings.
Frank Moore’s imagination was always in the service of his ecological concerns. For him the health of our environment was interdependent with the health of our bodies; and he depicted the devastation of the AIDS pandemic against the backdrop of a deforested landscape. Whether giving painterly life to his personal experience, as in the dream of tiny bison roaming the snowy planes of his hospital bed, or to his ecological concerns, as in the allegorical painting of Yosemite being blighted by commercialism, Moore’s fables always brim with wonderfully complex and clear beauty that simultaneously challenges, enlightens and delights.
Frank Moore: Painting in the Garden of Earthly Delights will include some thirty of his most important paintings as well as ten of his exquisitely rendered gouaches and watercolors. The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue with an essay by its curator, Klaus Kertess.