Known as the â€śbad boyâ€ť of 1960s West Coast art, Ed Moses has been called one ofÂ Americaâ€™s most formidable abstract painters. What some people might not know about the artist (a moniker he hates, but more on that later) is that he was one of the original faculty members in art at UC Irvine.
Moses recently celebrated his 88th birthday and continues to work out of his Venice, Calif., studio. His paintings are displayed in galleries all over the world and coveted among art collectors.
In recognition of his enduring influence, UCIâ€™s University Art Galleries will mount a solo showing of his work from the 1960s to the present. â€śEd Moses: Cross-Sectionâ€ť opens Oct. 10 and runs through Dec. 13. A public reception â€“ which Moses is expected to attend â€“ is set for Oct. 11 from 2 to 5 p.m.
Itâ€™s the Claire Trevor School of the Artsâ€™ inaugural exhibition in celebration of UCIâ€™s 50th anniversary. The event will feature 30 paintings highlighting the innovative techniques developed by Moses.
His oeuvre is diverse and difficult to categorize, which presents a challenge to curators, notes Juli Carson, UAG director and co-curator of the exhibition.
â€śHeâ€™s a painter whoâ€™s in a constant state of exploration and discovery,â€ť she says. â€śEd does not see himself as an artist. Heâ€™s not expressing himself in his work, but you can see how heâ€™s thinking as a conceptual artist and exploring the interaction between materials and paint.â€ť
Kevin Appel, art professor and associate chair of graduate studies in art, is co-curating the exhibition with Carson, whoâ€™s also a UCI art professor.
â€śI think itâ€™s a great time to reassess Mosesâ€™ paintings,â€ť Appel says. â€śItâ€™s an opportunity to study the changes in his work and how rigorous he has been in challenging himself as an abstract painter.â€ť
The concepts and themes in Mosesâ€™ art are still relevant to abstract artists, he notes: â€śIn contemporary painting, abstraction is very much in the forefront of what people are looking at. A lot of the ideas people are thinking about were seen early on in his work.â€ť
One innovative technique used in Mosesâ€™ paintings is craquelure, an effect achieved when layers of paint crack and separate as they dry. The artistâ€™s three-step process involves brushing a single color on a prepared canvas, followed by a proprietary mixture of his own â€śspecial sauce.â€ť As the paint dries, it begins to crack and separate. Moses then adds a second layer of color and lets it dry again.
He further shapes the work by literally â€śhitting and punchingâ€ť the surface to produce the desired result. According to Carson, Mosesâ€™ art reflects â€śsort of a push-pull between random chemistry and manipulation of the canvasâ€ť by Moses himself.
â€śWe have not done a show of this generation of abstract painting in 10 years,â€ť she says. â€śHis work sits perfectly at the threshold of abstract painting and conceptual art.â€ť