No Time 2 Spare, 36″ x 36″, acrylic on canvas
I used to worry that I intentionally aimed for accessibility where so many of the artists I most admire, like de Kooning, aimed for the more abstract? Recently, though, I’ve begun to feel that if my orientation is toward the observer, it is partially because my transition from pure observer to artist occurred so late, and also because my vantage point is no longer at the center of the map. Now when I reach out to the observer, it is through the angles and abstractions of others who have pushed and distorted the envelope. Art is, for many, a spiritual endeavor. Still, I personally believe that it is in the context of a non-theistic world that artistic expression holds even greater significance. Every artwork does, in fact, represent its own particular affirmation of intentionality over randomness. It was an encounter with color later in my life that triggered my birth as painter, but it occurred decades after I had first learned to sketch, which I did sitting in on life-drawing classes a friend’s father taught at Parsons in my early teens. I developed some facility drawing with charcoal back then, but never considered venturing beyond black and white, where there is an obvious right or wrong. Color would, I worried, only introduce more complications and aware of my difficulty with decisions, as basic as buying toothpaste, it seemed safest to stay away from color.
View from the Office, 36″ x 44″, acrylic on canvas
I continued to sketch sporadically over the years. Nevertheless, the feeling of being intimidated by color made it hard to take myself more seriously as an artist. Not until decades later, in the aftermath of a drug addiction and having lost my apartment, I ended up living at a city shelter on the lower east side. This shelter, however, had an art studio that had been sponsored and subsidized by a philanthropist with a true love for the arts. I can honestly say that I spent most of my waking hours at the shelter there in that art room. And given the shelter’s 6:00 a.m. wake-up call for breakfast, I had a lot of waking hours during that year. Rejecting a history of only sketching and drawing in black and white, I started exploring and I soon discovered a passion for color which has kept me painting ever since.
L.E.S. 2012, 48″ x 48″, acrylic on canvas
Avoiding color was one of those decisions that had made perfect intellectual and logical sense. Also it is a decision which proved to be entirely wrong when I discovered a sensitivity to color that allows me to match a given color or shade. Had my life followed a less tumultuous path, many things would be quite different and it is most likely I would not be a painter, and that would be too bad because painting, more than anything else, really feels like what I should be doing.
To see more work by Marc Moses, visit his website at www.marcmosesart.com.