About The Artist
Los Angeles painter Ed Moses is one of the most important West Coast artists associated with the Ferus Gallery and the “Cool School” group of artists of the fifties and sixties. His protean painting style—ranging from early investigations of Abstract Expressionism, to the grid paintings of the 1970s, to the more current “Crackle Paintings”—has contributed much to the region’s unique art history.
Moses was born on a boat sailing from Hawaii to Long Beach, the city in which he would spend most of his early life. After dropping out of high school in favor of the Naval Medical Corps and unsuccessfully pursuing the pre-med program at Long Beach City College, Moses eventually enrolled in art classes and received an MFA from UCLA. His involvement with Ferus Gallery began early on. Fellow classmate and painter Craig Kaufmann introduced Moses to Walter Hopps and Ed Keinholz, the proprietors of the new but influential gallery. Instead of holding his graduate exhibition of 1958 on campus as per usual, Moses mounted a solo show at Ferus Gallery, featuring Abstract Expressionist paintings in the manner of Arshile Gorky.
In the 1970s, Moses began working with diagonal, perpendicular lines, such as in The Red One (1976), creating grid-like paintings that recalled a more painterly Mondrian. This work developed in the 1980s to include what the artist called “apparitions” and “cloud covers,” wherein thin, indeterminate areas of paint covered the canvas. In all categories and aesthetics of painting, Moses aims to explore the parameters and possibilities of color, structure, and technique. In 2012, Moses began working on what he terms “Crackle Paintings,” consisting of canvases layered in color which are then punched on the surface with Moses’ elbow or fist to create fissures and cracks. In the artist’s words: “The unpredictability is what I like to look at. I don’t like the terms art or artist. I like the idea of doing what I do in terms of exploration.”
In 1996, Moses’s career was honored in a retrospective at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. His work is held in the collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, among others.
“Ed Moses.” The Collection. Laguna Art Museum. Web. 12. Nov. 2014. Martinez, Alanna. “I Just Wait Until It Goes Pow!: Abstract Painter Ed Moses on His Methodical and Intuitive Process.” Modern Painters. Blouin ArtINFO. 30 Aug. 2012. Web. 12 Nov. 2014. Moses, Ed. Ed Moses: A Retrospective of the Paintings and Drawings, 1951-1996. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996.