a different kind of light
by Douglas Messerli
Ed Moses Ed Moses: Drawings from the 1960s and 70s, curated by Leslie Jones / The Los Angeles County Museum of Art / I attended this exhibition with Pablo on May 18, 2015
Moses work was more often described as “modest” and “delicate,” consisting of what even he described as “goddamned valentines,” graphite drawings and rubbings with colored pencil that referred to the abstractions of painters before him such as Arshile Gorky and Philip Guston, even Mondrian.
Moses’ work of this early period, moreover, instead of boldly declaring the contours of his images, primarily erased them, defining his subject matter by the absence of line rather than its assertion, such as in works as One Potato Three Potato (of 1961-63) and Mask (1962), which references Thomas Eakins’ Study of a Seated Nude Woman Wearing a Mask.
In the context of contemporary post-modern art, however, it is Moses’ “valentines” and rug-influenced drawings that now seem more radical than the machine-like constructions of his peers. His emphasis on pattern and detail demonstrate the hand of the artist at work and remind us his obvious passion in his creations. As White puts it, in hindsight, we can now see his later gridded paintings as “pictures of drawing ideas,” and we perceive the true importance of these drawings from early in his career.
Los Angeles, June 2, 2015