Ed Moses is a member of the generation of California-based abstract artists that came of age in the mid-twentieth century, following in the tradition established by Richard Diebenkorn and Sam Francis. His career has spanned over fifty years, since his first exhibition in 1957 at the legendary Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles. Except for two brief but important interludes, one in New York from 1958-60, and the other in Europe from 1973-74, Moses has lived in southern California and his career has been central to the history of West Coast art since the end of second World War.
One of the most forceful and consistently challenging modernist artists of his generation, Moses has often defied description. Rather than maintain one distinct style, Moses has repeatedly embraced new approaches to his art, which range from his early, delicate, abstract, drawings; to the architectural grid work and resin paintings of the 1970s; to the “Apparitions” paintings of the late 1980s and early 1990s; and the huge canvases saturated with paint that he is producing now. He has experimented with materials as well, working on paper, with resin, on wood, and on canvas.
The constants in his work are an emphasis on gesture, on mark-making, and on an intimate connection with his materials. In addition, almost all of Moses’ work has a sense of three-dimensionality to it. One doesn’t just look at an Ed Moses painting: one enters it, almost in the way that one enters the subconscious during meditation. Moses has been a serious student of Tibetan Buddhism for much of his life, and this influence, the sense of living in the moment, is evident in his work. He says it most succinctly: “I don’t visualize and execute. Every breath is brand new. Don’t think of the future, don’t think of the past, the only factor is now.”
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