Thursday, January 07, 2016


Francisco Moreno: SLATE: Worn Panel No. 4, 2015, 48 x 36 inches, Mixed media on 
custom panel. Photo by Kevin Todora.  Courtesy the Artist and Erin Cluley Gallery. repost of my article.

About a week out from Erin Cluley Gallery’s opening of the Francisco Moreno show: Slates, a friend and I visited the gallery and the show was already up. By now, there is only a week more for the show, but this was one occasion where I didn’t want to make a knee jerk written reaction. I needed to think about the implications of a show like Francisco Moreno and Erin Cluley put together.

First, I noticed his statement. Moreno created panels that explain the size and shape of his concept. This is the beginning of the limitations he creates for himself. Moreno clearly understands the power of limitations while critiquing the necessity of style to maintain limits. Moreno’s idea of limiting size and shape was key to holding the show together. Each work was 48X36 with curved corners. Because Moreno limited his size, the show came together with all the work fitting, yet the styles were all over the place. I think Moreno was really producing an anti-style show. Having a personal style as an artist is like an authorship, branding, or way artists distinguish themselves for other artists. Henri Matisse may have changed styles over the years of his art production, but he was not able to explore several styles at once and place them in one show. Moreno, with hindsight of history was able to combine old styles, update others, and play around with yet more to make a show that isn’t about the progression of style as the Modernist pursued, but rather this was a showcase of style in conflict. Each idea attempting to speak louder than the piece next to it. If I didn’t know any better, this could have been a group show of all the artists in Moreno’s head. Similar to Shea Hembrey’s 100 artist biennial concept, Moreno is breaking down that myth that style has to emerge in a linear fashion, that style has to be an artist’s signature, and that style has this kind of mystique coveted by the art world.

What does each exploration of style mean to Moreno? I think it has to do with different aspect of his knowledge and personality. Moreno has examples of Op inspired work along with portraying Kanye West that play to his Popular culture connections. His painterly AbEx style works look splashed and dashed, but far from careless. I was drawn to the minimalist hard-edge work and found the unicorns humorous for being so over the top irreverent. The show itself was completely shuffled, so you had to look around for the works within each series. I think Moreno’s interests are varied and his knowledge of art history has depth which is laid bare on the wall of the gallery.

Erin Cluley Gallery has been gaining much deserved attention for some provocative offerings. I am excited to see her program grow and expand while exposing gallery visitors and collectors to her vision. Francisco Moreno will be showing until October 17th.

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