Interview by Amanda Quinn Olivar, West Coast Editor
Andy Moses is an artist who lives and works in Venice, California. He was born in Los Angeles in 1962 and attended California Institute of the Arts from 1979 to 1981. At CalArts he focused on performance, film, and painting, studying with Michael Asher, John Baldessari, and Barbara Kruger. In 1981 he moved to New York and worked for the artist Pat Steir. Later that year he developed a type of process painting that is simultaneously abstract and representational.
Moses is interested in pushing the physical properties of paint through chemical reactions, viscosity interference, and gravity dispersion to create elaborate compositions that mimic nature and its forces. He was in his first group exhibition at Artists Space in 1986 entitled selections. He had his first solo exhibition in New York at Annina Nosei Gallery in 1987. He has continued to exhibit his work in New York, Los Angeles, and abroad over the past twenty-five years. He moved back to Los Angeles in 2000 were he continues to refine and expand the vocabulary of his specific painting processes, imagery, and interrelationships with the technical and natural world.
This exhibition is all about the color red... Tell me about the idea behind your piece. What was the process to transform that idea into reality, and how is "red" significant?
I always work with color on a multitude of levels. Sometimes for sheer visceral impact, sometimes for an emotive feeling and sometimes to suggest something specific. In the case of the red show it was all three. I love the color red as it is obviously a very intense color and suggests so many things. It suggests intense things from the natural world like fire as well as emotionally charged things like rage. In the case of this particular painting, even though it is very abstract it is also suggestive of an infinite vista, perhaps at sunset and perhaps of a desert. If I made a similar painting in blue it might be suggestive of the ocean at midday.
Where does your interest in making art come from... Was there an aha moment? Tell me about your career path. How did it all start?
I think for anybody that makes art there are probably many aha moments along the way. The need to make work on a consistent basis usually comes from a fairly deep place, since it is usually a lifelong journey. I don’t think of art as a career path. As for an aha moment, I remember having a seven-layer multicolored cocktail drink near Cal Arts where I was studying at the time. I took a sip and when I put the glass down all the colors remained separated. There was no visible blending of the colors. Of course I interrogated the bartender about what was the cause of this. Twenty years later I started making paintings that used a technique that was a result of that experience.
Let’s talk about your subject matter and process. Does your body of work involve detailed planning and execution, or do spontaneity and experimentation play a role?
My work is very process driven. It all comes from years of tinkering in my laboratory/studio. It is always a combination between very detailed planning and spontaneity in differing proportions, depending on any particular piece. If I am trying something totally new then there is a larger degree of spontaneity. If it is more in a direction I have been working for a little while then it is more planned. Each painting incorporates some aspect of both.
Who are your favorite LA artists and influences right now?
There are too many great artists to name. I never break it down in my mind about geographic location. I like artists from all over the world. That being said of course there are a ton of great L.A. artists. As far as influence I think if you live in the world you can’t help but be influenced by all kinds of things other artists included. I am pretty far down a path though of experiments in my studio which is the most dominant influence on the course of work.
What is your favorite art accident?
Art accidents, like aha moments, happen all the time. I think if you are thinking in a specific direction, accidents in that direction will probably happen more often, or at least those are the ones that you notice. It’s a little like the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. If you search for waves you will find waves. If you search for particles you will find particles. One memorable art accident happened to me in New York in the early eighties, where I had a studio at the time. I stretched a canvas very tight over a poorly built stretcher bar. This caused the bar and the canvas to torque out from the wall. Many years later I started building convex and concave panels with this accident in mind.
Photo of Andy Moses: Courtesy of the artist
August 25 - September 29, 2018