Tuesday, February 16, 2016

By The Atomic 29 Tipped Arrow of Cupid: The Art of Mario Moore

Together, 54" x 69," oil on canvas, 2015.
Love is pure, sacrificial, untouchable, fragile.
Mario Moore's "Refracted Light" had pulled back gossamer curtains, unveiling a past standing vibrantly on familial foundation of love. Moore captures fruitful upbringing in mesmerizing detail. Each harmonizing brushstroke shares angst-driven, soul-stirring, heart-throbbing, undeniable compassion filtered through enchanted realism. Rapt attention draws focal concentration to traditional academic techniques holding hands with postmodern issues facing black bodies today. By painting powerful portraits on copper, atomic number 29 otherwise symbolized as Cu, places marginalization on a mighty scintillating pedestal.

Together close up.
In a prejudiced society so quick to illustrate black people as violent individuals especially those murdered out of racism, Moore's compositions showcase convincing opposition, the realistic positives in a harrowing narrative relying on stout dignity and ethereal poignancy. This compelling maneuver divulges humanistic layering, rendering figures in a deliberately sympathetic nature. Riveting physical urgency in Together drives a sense of emotional strength and unwavering grace. The clutching embrace between man and woman in front of a mirror is evocative, suspenseful. Narrative within narrative entails a close intimate bond yet opens up an unmasked sorrow coyly hinted in the woman's dewy eyes.

Study of a Growing Seed, 10" x 10," oil on panel, 2015.
Study of a Growing Seed, Study of a Grip, and Love reflect on different stages of life's memories, allowing storytelling hands to relay present time with framed photographs that had documented important historical events-- birth, high school dance (perhaps Prom or Homecoming), and romance. 

Study of a Grip, 12" x 12," oil on panel, 2015.

Love, 10" x 10," oil on panel, 2015.
Queen Mother Helen Moore,  24" x 36," oil on copper, 2015.
Refracted means to make a ray of light change direction when entering different angle.
Four women bring the exhibit its endearing name. To place them on metallic surfaces enriches their valuable importance. From their hairstyles, to their facial features, to their strong fingertips, each woman is individually distinguished, each manner specifically defined. Three women hold photographs of men in their hands-- some are larger parts escaping from other paintings, forming an interesting repetitive dialogue. Queen Mother Helen Moore holds two black men graduating and the prom/high school photograph from Study of a Grip. Whereas Yeah G Ma Don't Play is a larger role than that of Love.
Herstory, however, is a portrait leaving behind smallest amount of copper background. The woman doesn't hold photographs. Instead, she has an arm crossing her chest and a defiant hand on her cheek. Eyes house sassy attitude and upturned mouth carries wry amusement. A note beside her figure asks, "fear courses through the blood of ignorance but who gives us salvation through hope?"

Yeah G Ma Don't Play, 24" x 36," oil on copper, 2015.
Herstory, 34" x 28," oil on copper, 2015.
"Fear courses through the blood of ignorance but who gives us salvation through hope?"
Mom Says I'm Her Sun, 36" x 60," oil on copper, 2015.
Mom Says I'm Her Sun is a wonderfully composed painting demonstrating the artist's sophisticated ability of having copper background offset golden highlighted planes of his mother's three-dimensionally carved face. Like James Abbot Whistler, Henry Ossawa Tanner, and others before him, Moore depicted maternity in a rather dignified way. Moore's female parent is cast in pensive radiance, staring directly into viewer's soul, holding picture of a graduating young child with pride, with a seeming means to offer him, offer him up to the world where all glitters are not gold, or in this special case-- copper. From dedicated commitment to making her fabrics appear soft and touchable to the warmth of her subdue face, this beautifully crafted art was the truest star, the guiding light of the whole exhibit.

Mom Says I'm Her Sun close up I.
Mom Says I'm Her Sun close up II.
Mom Says I'm Her Sun close up III.
Moore's tenderly heartfelt exhibit is gone now from miniscule stage/ gallery space of Harlem School for the Arts. Gratifying presence lingers in mind and spirit, surging forth vibrant images dismantling pigeonholed stereotypes. Perhaps the black women depicted are single mothers honored to have had handsome, educated sons.  Or maybe they are holding onto their child's youth, pining away for the days of old, when they could protect their boys from society's perceptual evil. Either way, Moore most importantly conveys love, the kind of love provided in the cusp of a strong, vital family. It's the kind of love inherited, a genuine love that cannot be triggered by fictional arrows.
And love inherently ties these beautifully expressive works together.

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