Lora Reynolds is pleased to announce a project-room exhibition of new paintings by Donald Moffett in his second show at the gallery.
Donald Moffett’s recent paintings seem like brightly monochromatic pelts of fur. He creates this conspicuous texture by extruding fine threads of oil paint so they stand on end, perpendicular to the painting’s surface. Before applying paint, he stretches canvas over plywood and drills one, two, or dozens of holes through the entire structure, exposing the wall behind it.
The paintings imply the human body—paint and holes evoke hair and anatomical orifices—but they also evoke bullet holes, glory holes, botanical forms, microscopic viral structures, semipermeable membranes, and the intricate designs of Islamic art.
And the range of boundaries—art historical, social, political—Moffett pushes against is as broad as the paintings’ span of visual referents. He moves his paintings toward sculpture by using paint as a three-dimensional material, and toward video (in previous work) by projecting moving images onto painted canvases. In the 1980s and 90s he bucked the status quo by designing AIDS-awareness propaganda for the street. One such poster featured two images—a target next to a smirking Ronald Reagan overlaid with the text “HE KILLS ME.”—that addressed the administration’s hesitancy to respond to the AIDS epidemic. More recently he produced a group of photographs and extruded paintings titled What Barbara Jordan Wore, an homage to the first African-American female and lesbian elected to the US House of Representatives.
Barbara Jordan's tone, clothing, and general demeanor—all calculated and controlled—were tools she used to affect change, moving us closer to universal acceptance and equality. Her optimism and grace made her a beacon of hope. Looking at Moffett’s current work and lifelong commitment to social causes, one might argue he takes after Jordan’s approach. Moffett’s paintings tackle touchy subjects but do so with restraint. Life is precious and fragile; liberty, justice, and pleasure belong to us all.
Donald Moffett, born in 1955 in Texas, lives and works in New York. Moffett’s work is the subject of an exhibition at the Blanton Museum of Art (Austin) on view through February 28. It is also included in Greater New York at MoMA PS1 (New York) on view through March 7. He has had solo exhibitions at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Tang Museum (Saratoga Springs), Andy Warhol Museum (Pittsburgh), Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, and Columbus College of Art and Design. Moffett’s work was included in the inaugural exhibition of the new Whitney Museum of American Art (New York), as well as recent exhibitions at the Warehouse (Dallas), Walker Art Center (Minneapolis), Linda Pace Foundation Gallery (San Antonio), FLAG Art Foundation (New York), and Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston. Among the museums that own his work are the Museum of Modern Art (New York), Museum of Contemporary Art (Los Angeles), Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Blanton Museum of Art (Austin), and Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.