Painting "Cicada Tree"

Borough Gallery and Studio: You grew up in a family of committed artists.  Now that you’re an artist how are they involved with your work?

Rachel Moore: Some of my earliest memories are of family members, particularly my grandfather, teaching me to make art and to see the world as an artist. I remember learning how to properly hold a pencil and write my name, and then to draw shaded shapes like spheres and cubes on the same page. Equally important was learning to really see things. He would show me a mirror, point out the range of wild colors he saw in my face and then show me how to mix them. He has always offered astonishing lessons, bringing me back to the core of how and why people make art. Then he’ll finish up with something like, ‘But that’s just how I do it, you do whatever the hell you want’. And that is what I do.

Now that I am exhibiting my work and building an artistic career, relatives offer an example to follow and my greatest source of support and encouragement. I refer to their work as I make my own and depend on them for an honest critique. A Sonstein family exhibition was held this past summer in North Wales, Pennsylvania. Eight family members participated with ages ranging from 12 to 86. Some works were dated 60 years ago and some were finished just before hanging the show. Seeing the continuum in one room was fascinating. I am clearly influenced by everyone.

BGS: Do you see an evolutionary path in your own work since you’ve finished formal studying?  Any ideas about where your work has been, where it’s going?

RM: I am very much affected by the place I am living and working. My work has changed substantially as I have changed homes and environments. I had done a good deal of traveling before my college years and I think that was quite inspirational, but my later experiences of traveling alone and moving from place to place are what stand out as enormous landmarks in my artistic development as an adult. This began in spurts during college and picked up speed when I graduated.
Looking back, it seems that college was a somewhat frustrating time during which I had to control the stimulation and excitement I was gathering. I looked forward to a time when I would learn more naturally, be autonomous and let loose my creations. After completing college, I thrust myself into a series of situations that were both extremely challenging and rewarding. I attribute my growth to the creative people I met along the way and the repeated opportunities to reinvent myself.
My earlier works from college and previous years seem to have been dedicated to exploration of materials. I was fascinated by what paint and other materials would do on a surface, even with little or no manipulation. I worked for several years without a paintbrush, allowing a composition to appear naturally through pouring or spreading and watching it dry. I would then reinforce or eliminate elements of the composition to complete the piece, but I felt little intervention was necessary. I still enjoy making compositions of pure abstraction and my current painting process begins with a similar technique of loose painting. However, I have now come in to a more controlled style. I am working to find a balance between allowing the paint to move naturally and manipulating it to convey my intentions. Projecting into the future, I see myself honing in on the most effective way to achieve this balance and creating a more cohesive collection of works.

Working on "Pear Tree"

BGS: What work of art took you the longest amount of time to make, what took the shortest?  Please tell us what each experience was like.

RM: I think it is important to consider the whole lifetime of experiences and education that lead up to the making of a work. There is often a very long period of incubation during which a painting or sculpture develops conceptually. To answer the question more directly, I believe the piece that took longest to make is the knit sculpture titled “Organic Periscope”. I completed this over 10 8-hour sessions. I was hooked on this project because I was so curious about how it would turn out. The shape kept changing before me and eventually became its completed self. Like most of my works, I better communicated my intentions by disobeying the original sketch. Interesting avenues kept presenting themselves and I had to take them. I believe the painting titled “Abstract Composition 1”  took the least amount of time to create. I achieved these effects by applying painted objects to the canvas, pouring ink and oil on the surface and then tilting it to put the materials in motion. This was made along with a series of other small canvases that were studies for satisfying compositions. I later used these as references for large scale works. This composition relates directly to Abstract Wetscape 2.

"Abstract Wetscape 2"

BGS: An evangelist knocks on your door, professing the opposite of everything you know to be true about existence and the universe.  What do you do?

RM: If an evangelist were to inform me that my interpretation of this universe is wrong, I would take my father’s advice and be aware of everything, discard what does not work for me and take what does.

For more information on Rachel Moore go here. See her work in person at Borough until Friday, December 4th.