Continuing through February 21, 2016
It's not often you see a gallery devote an entire show to works on paper. The truth is that they're harder to sell than paintings. Collectors who have never bought prints before often worry about conservation issues, or simply feel less connected to images that feel imprisoned behind glass. Of course, Forrest Moses isn't any old printmaker. The octogenarian artist is a Santa Fe legend, known as well for his monotypes as his paintings. Still, there's something audacious about "The Monotypes: Reflections of a Painter," a vast series of prints that is Moses' first solo show in years.
Two oil paintings on panel open the exhibition, an entry point to the prints inside. Moses' paintings are densely textured visions of nature. His tight compositions of forest glades often lack horizon lines. They hover at the edge of abstraction, capturing the dynamism of abstract expressionism but swapping its aggression for Zen Buddhism-inspired serenity. In contrast, the monotypes are a headlong dive into the non-figurative. Forms that suggest tangled tree trunks still abound, but here they exist as gestural brushstrokes in dusky color worlds. On the other end of the spectrum, dabs of pigment blend together into patterned grey atmospheres, obscuring pools of blue that glow like peacock feathers. It's almost as though Moses is documenting the strange beauty of a descent into blindness. Perhaps for a landscape painter, abstract printmaking is a comparable experience. With each stroke of the brush and pull of the press, Moses moves farther away from nature's laws — and closer to its mystical truths.