A member of the ‘Cool School’ - a group that included Craig Kauffman, Ed Ruscha, Billy Al Bengston, and Robert Irwin - Ed Moses was a pioneering force in the post-war art scene of L.A. His oeuvre, while versatile, is distinct in its vibrant energy and exploratory nature. Though acknowledged by many of his contemporaries as an action painter, Moses approached his painting with an unusual openness to change and experimentation. He referred to himself as "The Mutator," implying that his work was in a constant state of flux - of birth and rebirth. For Moses, painting was a process of self-discovery, and this intense experimentation speaks to the underlying influence he received as a practicing Buddhist for much of his life. Remarking that “the point is not to be in control, but in tune” (1) alludes to Moses’ engagement with the metaphysics and introspection of the creative arts in which he was fully immersed.
Whirl presents an interesting balance of spontaneity and clarity that the artist demonstrated in his abstract paintings throughout his prolific 60-year career. It reveals the quality of being both spontaneously gestural while having a controlled geometry, creating a depth of movement referencing a landscape. The work is a poetic expression of raw energy and experience without the constraints of a formulated style or conclusion.
It is this characteristic freedom of expression which defines Moses’ unique approach; his work is engaging, in the words of MOCA director Richard Koshalek, because it employs "a plastic vocabulary rooted in European and American abstract art with a personal quest born out of his desire to continually reinvent himself and his art.” (2)
Moses' work is widely collected and examples are included in many prominent public collections, such as the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, The Hammer Museum, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, and The Museum of Modern Art in New York.
1. Albertz Benda, “Ed Moses” Available at: http://www.albertzbenda.com/artists/ed-moses
2. Deborah Vankin and Suzanne Muchnic, “Ed Moses, ‘Cool School’ painter who helped forge L.A.’s art scene, dies at 91” LA Times (Jan 18, 2018) Available at: https://www.latimes.com/entertainment/arts/la-me-ed-moses-dies-20180118-story.html
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