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Alternatives Magazine Issue 55 Fall 2010





“Rowan” by Jazz-Minh Moore

Instead of engaging her subject laconically, with easy, atmospheric brushwork and a complicit, referential wink in the direction of glamour and celebrity (rife with a kind of osmotic longing), Moore’s protagonists are head-on engaged with the disaster otherwise known as life. In her New York solo debut at LyonsWier Gallery, her subjects, all women and for the most part fellow artists, are grappling with irreconcilable forces—creativity and longing clashing with constraining, normative processes. What Moore encapsulates in those faux-breezy instants-vérité—paintings like Crepuscular and Bite Me, two acrylic and resin on wood panel works, is the disconnect between reality and dreams, or between raw desire and ambition.

“I try to capture the confusion of odd, passing moments,” says Moore. “And so my paintings are full of secrets, confusion, and unfiltered emotion.”

What Moore manages in the process of rendering what she calls “these precious instants of vulnerability” is a tour-de-force of oil portraiture. The expressions she captures are taut, awkward, tortured, and yet her subjects are singularly beguiling. Forgoing utterly the traditional axioms of female figure painting, Moore has in some ways re-invented the genre—her characters aren’t merely beautiful, accomplished women struggling with obstructive forces, they are forces of nature coming together for a solstice party.

“I’m a picker, always looking to salvage those precious interludes when a sensitive psyche marks a brief pause in its viscerally competitive march,” says Moore. “I’m fundamentally ambivalent about the idea of success.”

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