Friday, June 01, 2012

Kelly Moran

Hawaiian Type Eleven 5in x 5in Linocut Collage 2012
A repost from for a show in May 2012.

The nostalgic musings of Kelly Moran's collages at Wagner Sousa Modern Art in Galveston and her upcoming show this weekend at D. M. Allison Gallery in Houston have got me thinking about how the recent past graphic images of the 1920's through 60's weigh heavy on contemporary art.

Moran embraces this throwback aesthesis with gusto, but she digs a little further in some of her work with reference to the cubist style. Graphics of faces might look away from the audience, while the photos underneath look directly at you. Because Moran is a printmaker, the importance of multiples is not lost on her. She often uses repetition of images in the background like someone creating wallpaper.

Kelly Moran’s work titled “Spare Me,” acollage, lino-cut, and acrylic medium on paper, uses one of those old graphic illustrations that looks to be cliché now and she ads color and black lines that seem to further camp up the image. I don’t know if Moran is lovingly riffing off the past or if she is taking an ironic Post-Modern attack on the past, but sentimentality does seem to populate this scene. This could be bad, if not for one more important element that takes Moran’s work into a completely different realm. This is the feeling that these works are made in the style of the untrained artist. After I saw the Web Gallery at the Dallas Art Fair, I began to research untrained artists, and they have a completely different aestheticism than us academically trained artists. Moran is a trained artist, but I get the feeling that something out there in the ether has informed her work.

The best artists that mine the past look back with a critical eye. As much as some might want to lead you to disbelieve, the past was filled with more repression, more inequality, more senseless death, and less freedom than the world we live in today. If you doubt this fact, I challenge you to read Harvard Professor Steven Pinker’s book “The Better Angels of Our Nature.”Sure we got a lot more to work on, but let’s not think the past is something to
“return to.” Personally, I have the sneaking suspicion that Moran is in the critical camp, so I am willing to see where she is going to take her work. So far, my interest is peeked enough to write about her. Kelly Moran’s show at
Wagner Sousa Modern Art runs through May 25th and her Houston show at D.M. Allison Gallery starts the 28th of April and ends on May 26th.

For more pictures of the show, vist

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