Photography Credit:
Photograph by Steven Begletter

John L. Moore
Birth Date: February 2, 1939


Artist Gallery
Born in 1939, John Moore, as a boy was drawn to water. He played for hours on the banks of Doan Creek near the place where it flowed into Lake Erie. Years later, when he began to paint, he found himself trying to bring together the quicksilver texture or nervous turbulence of flowing water and the stark architectural shapes of his inner-city neighborhood. The subdued, deliberately limited palette of colors and the simple shapes with which Moore works contribute to the intensity of his vision. “I work intuitively,” the artist has said. “I lay down a shape that's been bugging me; I push it along”. Pulsating with energy and incipient meaning, Moore's paintings, at once abstract and deeply personal, demonstrate the power of the creative act. Moore's professional career began after he served three years in the Army's elite 101st Airborne Division. During the early 1970s Moore taught painting and drawing at Cuyahoga Community College, while pursuing his bachelor's and master's degrees in fine arts at Kent State University. From 1974 to 1985 Moore worked as an assistant curator and instructor in the education department of the Cleveland Museum of Art. Moving to New York, he held positions as adjunct professor at Queens College, City University of New York, and Parsons School of Design. In Moore's paintings, the mirrors were blind and empty, or sometimes barely there, perhaps signaling the deprivation of his African and African-American heritage that had marked his early education. And the smaller ovals, he has said, refer to an African custom passed down by African Americans, in which an egg was placed over the door to alleviate the pain of a child who is cutting teeth. “Only after learning about this tradition in 1991”, Marianne Doezema, curator of the 1996 traveling exhibition, “Painting Abstract”, noted in the show's catalogue, “did Moore remember that his own grandmother had placed an egg in a sock and nailed it over the doorway of teething children in the family.” Interestingly, black has long been Moore's favorite color, and in his hands, it becomes something subtle and interesting. His hard-edged black ovals, often floating in or over a fluid sea of blues and grays, are beautiful yet compelling.