Looking Out, a thematic, monographic exhibition of paintings by John Moore (b. 1941), focuses on a central motif in the artist’s work of the last twenty years: the view from a window. The window as a metaphor has captured artists’ imaginations since the Renaissance. As will be seen in Looking Out, this visual paradox linking inside and outside conditions is refreshed in Moore’s work by the window’s mediation between things as they are and as they could be. The subject of numerous solo exhibitions both nationally and internationally, John Moore has been represented by Hirschl & Adler Modern since 1983. This presentation at The Art Show is the artist’s first solo presentation at the fair.
What separates John Moore from other masters of American Realism is his use of the landscape. Not a mere depiction nor a recording of place, Moore’s landscapes are composites woven together with an attention to detail that pushes an illusion of on-site specificity though no such vantage point exists. Details may appear from a youth spent in St. Louis and Connaught, Ohio, and subsequent life experiences in Boston; New York; Philadelphia; Coatesville, Pennsylvania; and Belfast, Maine. Carefully chosen views collapse into each other as Moore paints them, establishing them just as they are: as memories. By compelling us to view what he calls “workscapes” through windows, Moore inserts us into his realm. We are aware of the spaces and their former use, but here they represent something else. Their significance has shifted, and these sites have become allegories for progress, industry, and above all, time. Moore himself has written “Everything in them is real however, or should have been real, or could be real. That’s the only rule: it could be real.” Taken to this extreme, the windows themselves become crucial thresholds between inside and outside, real and imagined, the natural and the artificial. Whether the window glass obscures the landscape beyond through refraction or grime, or whether the vantage point is clear and clean, for the past twenty years John Moore has placed the onus of these paintings on the window itself. As such, the window acts, in the words of Wallace Stevens, as “the incessant conjunction between things as they are and things imagined.”
Beginning around 2000, John Moore began heavily featuring the view through a window in his paintings and it has occupied his work ever since. Looking Out brings together several important examples of Moore’s work which use the window as a defining element in the painting’s narrative.