R Moeller is a painter and writer living in Cambridge Ma.
I’m Selfish Too!
Paintings by Robert Moeller
July 17-August 21 2010
Selfishness, in this context, refers not only to me but you as well. It is an accusation and excuse, a justification of our perceived needs, and an acknowledgement of our communal failure to protect a resource vital to our existence. The water depicted here is tainted, stagnant, and polluted. It flows through culverts and sewers. It is filled with glowing irradiated bubbles, pesticides, excrement, dead fish, and electric-colored sailboat keels. Despite its deadness, it is alive, thriving even, and apt to burst forth, mutating with a furious toxic energy. Because of this, the paintings are heavily lined (quarantined) and divided into quadrants or sections. The lines are unruly and almost never square. They begin randomly and end dangling in space. What’s clear is that the lines don’t work. While they visually frame the paintings they metaphorically fail to stop the overflow they were designed to contain. Envisioning a continuation of this body of work would lead naturally to the lines thickening into walls, giant underground levees or dikes, leaving little of the water visible or close at hand.
That being said, the paintings are not a political manifesto but rather visual statements. They are abstract representations of a real problem. They are shadow puppets with muted shapes disinclined to offer solutions or cite scientific evidence. They are here to suggest that there is a problem, to allude to it without any real judgments being made. And while some of the works here present a placid, pretty even, facade, it would be a mistake to presume them untroubled. In certain cases, they are emblematic of our refusal to take seriously the disturbing litany of problems that confront us, all of which having been caused by our callous lack of regard for the places we inhabit. Those soft facades are just that. They thinly conceal some very rough under-surfaces only just held together with the lightest of pencil tracings. And those surfaces have only begun to be scratched