It inspired film noir. It's also a time when it's hardest to find kids for dinnertime. It's when cats do their best hunting. And, for an artist like Greg Moon, the time of day when …
It inspired film noir. It's also a time when it's hardest to find kids for dinnertime. It's when cats do their best hunting. And, for an artist like Greg Moon, the time of day when shadows begin their darkening pool from the periphery of street lights and flickering porch lamps offers a tantalizing sense of mystery he still loves to follow.
Moon is taking center stage this weekend with the opening of his latest show, titled "Moon Shadows." It opens with a reception Saturday (Sept. 22) 5-8 p.m., at his gallery, Greg Moon Art, 109A Kit Carson Road.
"This is a one-man show featuring the nocturnal paintings of Greg Moon," a gallery statement reads. "These works in oil, watercolor, and gouache explore that most neglected of subject matter, nighttime. Whether depicting the serenity of a summer's night or the edginess of a film noir setting, these pieces delve into the implications of a genre cloaked in mystery and defined by distillation of form."
Moon said he's had his gallery for eight years and hasn't thrown a one-man show for himself in five, so it was about time. "It's kinda time for the guy whose name is over the door and pays all the bills to give himself a one-man show."
Moon said that his nocturnal paintings are probably what he's best known for and admits they continue to provide intrigue and inspiration. "It's kinda like going back to the well, the thing that got me hooked on the whole thing to begin with. I just love the whole thing about night."
In twilight, the world changes. Hard-edged daylight reveals everything, especially in the Southwest, but after the sun goes down, the shadows creep around the corners and alleyways. You strain to make out what's back there, and yet are slightly afraid of what you might discover.
"It's funny, because you can take an old front porch in a neighborhood and take a photograph of that during the day, and it could be really cool. But, put that in night and all of a sudden there's these implications that come in there that weren't there previously," he said. "It implies things whether it is nostalgia or that film noir thing, where it's like, 'Oh, somebody's being killed in that house!' But, I try to leave it ambiguous."
A "huge Edward Hopper fan," Moon said he loves the idea of presenting a palette seething with enigmas. But, rather than rendering it in any explicit fashion, he prefers to leave the narrative to the viewer. He said he loves looking at Hopper's work because the figures in the paintings asked questions of the person viewing the work. They didn't necessary give answers about who was portrayed or what they were doing. That wasn't the artist's job.
"I want there to be participation. I don't want to be the one dictating what the work is about," Moon said. "As long as I can leave it as an open-ended conversation, I'll learn things about my work." There are times when people will comment about what they see in one of Moon's paintings, and suddenly even the artist begins looking at his own work differently. It can be disquieting, but certainly intriguing.
Moon doesn't paint at night any more. He may take a photo, do a sketch and maybe rough out something, but the real work takes place in the studio. He works in a variety of mediums, mainly because it's like paying attention to that thing that reaches out of the dark and taps you on the shoulder. The medium becomes the tool needed for the given subject.
It's the street light, or the porch lamp, or the moon that really does the talking.
Moon returned to New Mexico following a 22-year absence shortly after receiving his bachelor of fine arts degree from the University of Texas in Austin. The son of an artist and an educator, his introduction to the arts started early, according to his online artist statement. "My mother has a master's degree in art education, and my father is a retired art professor/ artist who has a Ph.D. in the same field. No matter how I struggled against it early on, there was little doubt I would end up in the arts. Most of my friends growing up had People Magazine on the living room coffee table - in our house it was American Artist and Art in America."
He has been showing professionally since 1989 in galleries and museum shows. "At this point he has participated in over 120 exhibitions and has amassed 18 one-man shows," the statement continues. "His work is split between several diverse bodies of work that reflect his varied aesthetic tastes and interests. At present his artwork includes more traditional media such as watercolor, gouache, and oil painting. He also produces work in the realms of assemblage and mixed media."
The show will be on view through Oct. 13. For more information, call (575) 770-4463 or visit gregmoonart.com.
Saturday (Sept. 22) 5-8 p.m.
Greg Moon Art, 109A Kit Carson Road
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