Andy Moses. Los Angeles. Photo by Eric Minh Swenson
My film on Andy Moses represents the 120th film I've produced on the Southern California art scene in two short years. Sometimes it seems like I'm traveling at the speed of light or breaking down sound barriers when I'm making films at this pace. I feel like an unstoppable freight train with no light at the end of the tunnel. I've quickly become an artist champion, filmmaker/publicist/promoter. However, it is not my job to decide which art belongs in a museum, what artist has the so-called chops, or what is the artist's place in art history. I may have an opinion, but I'm not a critic.
Andy Moses in his Venice Beach studio. Photo by Eric Minh Swenson
As a filmmaker who specializes on artist documentaries, I make creative decisions on how I'm going to interpret my artist subject and which method I'm going to use to film them in their space. I'm in a unique position to analyze the artist's persona as I turn them into pieces of art to be viewed by the public at-large. These intuitive actions show reverence and appreciation, since my creative decisions ultimately extend the artist's essence of whom they are and how they want to be portrayed. My films are my canvas, and Youtube/Vimeo/Facebook is my gallery space.
When it comes to my thoughts on Venice Beach artist, Andy Moses, I don't feel compelled to write about finish fetish, pearlescent pigments or CalArts, because these are aspects of his bio that have been written countless times before. Let me indulge in some cinematic language to make a psychological interpretation of how I was affected by my studio visit with Andy Moses.
In 1972, one of my favorite filmmakers, Andrei Tarkovsky, directed "Solaris," based on the 1961 Polish science fiction novel by Stanislaw Lem. For some odd reason when I see an artist's body of work, especially when I am trying to figure out the look and feel of my director's approach to their film (to go as far as to decide what camera package I'm going to use) I've developed this strange sense of comparing the artist's work to a film or a genre of films. When I visited Andy I started thinking about Solaris. I asked him if he had seen it. These fun comparisons are like, he's a Fellini film, or she's a Godard or a Bergman. Some artists are a spaghetti western and some are screwball comedy.
Andy Moses, Event Horizon, 2006. 24 x 42. Acrylic on concave canvas
Keeping in mind with Andy Moses, Tarkovsky's interstellar journey film deals with the oceanic planet Solaris that has the ability to analyze those who are studying it. Solaris is the metaphor of the mea culpa that every man faces in his or her own life. We all have those moments of searching our own souls by looking into the mirror to make sense of the unknown chaos we confront through life. Chrysalis awareness gives way to our anthromorphic limitations, fallacies and short falls, as we are all destined to cease among the living, a hard fact for all of us to swallow. It is through the human condition an artist finds joy and therapy in their work. Like Solaris, an artist's work is a mirror looking back at the artist. It's a representation of who they are in that time and space. As artists evolve through life, so does the work.
Andy Moses, Paracas, 2012. 54 x 114. Acrylic on concave canvas
In Moses' convex and concave artworks there is a hallucinatory cartography in his flow paintings that Moses painstakingly conceives in his studio. When Moses described to me the laborious process of keeping fly's and bugs off his paintings during the drying process, I thought... wow...that could be a compelling film in itself.
Moses' paintings are mere geological occurrences as he manipulates the abstract shapes to look like strata, space and oceanscapes on its ultimate flat luster finish. If artists are to be Gods of their own creations deciding whimsically or methodically how paint flows across the canvas, well then God-forbid a fly or knat ruin a pristine landscape by attaching itself to the wet paint, especially on the large scale Moses prides himself with.
There's also a component of flux physics to Andy Moses' work. In my research I found applied mathematics to be relevant in Moses' art. Moses may not be concerned by transport phenomenon or surface integrals to create the flux flow of moving paint that he measures in viscosity, but what he does experiment is the pearlescent color shifts in his work as sunlight brightens and fades and how light temperatures change the color of Moses' art.
Andy Moses, Sowwha 2, 2012. 54 x 114. Acrylic on concave canvas
It's through these transcendent moments that a viewer can look at a Moses piece during a noon-day sun or twilight and either challenge what mood they're in or enhance it. To live with a 72-inch wide Andy Moses painting in your living space can have the feel of something omniscient, a flux organism that mysteriously knows who you are. Simply put, to appreciate a Moses paining is to contemplate the micro and macro of the cosmos, the ebb and flow of life...which is ultimately searching within ourselves.
Moses' work is a triumvirate of space, shape and light. It causes contemplation upon extended viewing, or through the Solaris metaphor. In contemplating a Moses painting, we can perchance, contemplate how we feel about ourselves through the iridescent moods for which Moses' work is known.
See the film on Andy Moses:
Solaris Movie Trailer: