Practiced spontaneity: Moore goes with the flow

Dave Moore, detail from "the legacy of my precedents (my own and others)."

Practice. We all know it “makes perfect” and is the punch-line way to get to Carnegie Hall, but as any Zen master will tell you, practice is also an end in itself. Beginners generally view rehearsals as a tedious but necessary means for reaching a goal. More experienced practitioners, however, know that repetition itself opens up endless possibilities and thrilling variations. Any fear of failure vanishes with absorption in the familiar act of doing.
Just ask Dave Moore, whose abstract paintings are currently on view at The Bridge. “Any time I am surprised by the content,” he says, “that is what I want.”
An accomplished artist, Moore has never let financial challenges disrupt his practice. He scrounges old canvases from junkshops, sometimes letting colors from the original works surface in his own compositions. Recently,he’s started cutting up industrial drop cloths because he likes how the untreated canvas actually resists paint.
Moore’s methods for beginning his artworks are equally unorthodox. A favorite approach is to place canvas on the ground and then throw acrylic paint on it from his porch. Moore then lifts the canvas to manipulate how the paint moves across it or folds it to distribute the color. He explains he finds these methods “a better way to communicate with the painting.”
The results give Moore an idea for how to proceed. For instance, the large diptych, “In the Fruiting,” grew out of a fluid mingling of yellow and olive paint at the center of the left panel. From there, Moore used an array of techniques to create a profusions of diffuse-edged tubers and vines that emerge like a genie from a vase painted below the original spill. Moore’s developed sense of color, line, and surface (the man is a master of varnish) all contribute to the painting’s success.
Such raw yet skillful energy recalls the combustible power of Robert Motherwell’s abstracts. But unlike Motherwell, who preferred swaths of black, Moore constantly explores how colors interact. In perhaps his strongest work, “the legacy of my precedents (my own and others),” a central red panel, energized by a riotous interplay of texture and color–cobalt blue, white, violet, turquoise, pink, orange–extends elements into calmer, cream-colored panels on either side that continue the composition in more minimal terms.
Zen-like, Moore’s practiced ability enables him both to know and not know where a painting is going as he works, which infuses his art with excitement.

Dave Moore’s paintings, along with photography by Andy Acquaro, are on view through September 28 at The Bridge. 209 Monticello Road (across from Spudnuts). 984-5669.