Spotlight: California Painter Andy Moses’s New Works Transform Desert Landscapes Into Cascades of Paint

Moses's recent solo show at Bentley Gallery in Phoenix unveiled a new body of work inspired by landscapes of the Southwest.

Andy Moses, Geodesy 1234 (2020). Courtesy of Bentley Gallery, Phoenix.

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About the Artist: Originally from Los Angeles Andy Moses (b. 1962) attended the famed California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) between 1979 and 1981. With a focus on performance, film, and painting, Moses studied under the likes of Michael Asher, John Baldessari, and Barbara Kruger. Following his graduation, he worked with Pat Steir in New York and soon developed the process-based painting style that he is recognized for. Tapping the potential of the physical properties of his materials, such as paint viscosity and chemical reactions, Moses’s method of using gravity to let the pigments pour and flow across the canvas results in compositions that contain elements of abstraction and representation simultaneously. Moses’s first group show was at Artists Space in 1986, and his first solo exhibition was held at Annina Nosei Gallery in 1987. Since then, he has exhibited extensively nationally and internationally, including in over a dozen museum shows. In 2000, Moses relocated back to Los Angeles—specifically Venice Beach—where he continued to hone his unique painting practice.

Andy Moses. Courtesy of the artist and Bentley Gallery, Phoenix.

Andy Moses. Courtesy of the artist and Bentley Gallery, Phoenix.

What You Need to Know: Located in Phoenix, Arizona, Bentley Gallery has been a bastion of contemporary art in the American Southwest for over thirty-five years. Recently, Bentley Gallery presented the solo exhibition “Andy Moses: Desert of Light,” comprised of recent work that features Moses’ signature-shaped canvases and swirling abstractions. The body of work within the presentation was largely inspired by elements of nature found in the United States’s West Coast and Southwest—like the coastal winds of California and vast regions of desert. The basic natural compositions of these landscapes, such as their geographies and quality of light, are used as starting points from which Moses interprets and extrapolates through paint.

Why We Like It: Moses’s recent works are evocative of a mirage that is shimmering into existence, a vision that has not fully coalesced. Through color palette and the visually perceived movement of paints across the canvas, the landscape, and natural elements are conveyed through abstract and subject visual means and invite prolonged looking to infer where the representational ends and the abstraction begins. Notably, the hand of the artist is absent from these works, as Moses uses a method of canvas tilting and gravity to move and shift the flow and direction of the pigments rather than a brush or palette knife. This removal offers allusions to the unseen—yet equally powerful—aspects of nature, such as wind, heat, or sound. The pristineness of the pigment flows creates a meditative, visually immersive experience, which allows the viewer to not only grasp the artist’s vision but explore their own subjective emotive response simultaneously.

See the work of Andy Moses below.

Andy Moses, Geodesy 1512 (2022). Courtesy of Bentley Gallery, Phoenix.

Andy Moses, Geodesy 1512 (2022). Courtesy of Bentley Gallery, Phoenix.

Andy Moses, Geomorphology 1426 (2023). Courtesy of Bentley Gallery, Phoenix.

Andy Moses, Geomorphology 1426 (2023). Courtesy of Bentley Gallery, Phoenix.

Andy Moses, Geodynamics 901 (2021). Courtesy of Bentley Gallery, Phoenix.

Andy Moses, Geodynamics 901 (2021). Courtesy of Bentley Gallery, Phoenix.

Installation view of "Andy Moses: Desert Light" (2023). Courtesy of Bentley Gallery, Phoenix.

Installation view of “Andy Moses: Desert Light” (2023). Courtesy of Bentley Gallery, Phoenix.

Installation view of "Andy Moses: Desert Light" (2023). Courtesy of Bentley Gallery, Phoenix.

Installation view of “Andy Moses: Desert Light” (2023). Courtesy of Bentley Gallery, Phoenix.

Explore the work of Andy Moses with Bentley Gallery, Phoenix, here.


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