Carrie Moyer, Mythic Being, 2008, acrylic on canvas, 50×30 inches. Courtesy of Canada.
CANADA is proud to announce “Arcana” a solo painting show by Carrie Moyer. “Arcana”, which comes from the same root as the word arcane, refers to the two (minor and major) divisions in the occult Tarot deck that is used to predict future events, both mundane and deeply significant. Full of symbolism, Tarot cards, like Carrie Moyer’s paintings act as ciphers, provoking the viewer toward strange potentialities, awareness of subconscious possibilities and unknowable worlds.
In this body of work, Moyer has deepened her sense of painterly variety and inventiveness. The compositions have become more complex, due to the artists newly added practice of making preparatory studies. The flumes of acrylic roil and crack with a new confidence. Embodying the strain of their unique materiality, the pours are full of layers, like the bottomless depths of a George Ohr pottery glaze. Masked sections of neutral grays and deep blacks create shapes that flicker between background and foreground. This and more add to the psychological heft of these paintings.
Beyond their physicality, Moyer’s paintings convincingly fuse painterly ideas of the sublime and contemplation with the graphic. Moyer, in a sense, has created a unique synthesis of the history of modern painting, the purity of color field formalism with the punchy accessibility of agitation and propaganda. The grandeur and elegant subtlety of an Yves Klein painting and the graphic story telling of an El Lisitisky are brought together in Moyer’s work. The hermetic and political share a home like two slightly queasy participants in an episode of ABC’s Wife Swap.
Carrie Moyer’s paintings are a Rorschach test of sorts. Amid the pours, lines and painterly volumes, we see leather bustiers and blood red cords. We can also see, (and it isn’t too hard) breasts, guitar necks, flint spear points, ceremonial instruments, sea animals, vessels, hips, vaginas, targets and vaginas. There is a knowing over the top quality to Moyer’s collection of images, painstakingly researched and compiled, that is both reverent and full of sardonic jokes. When an allusion goes too far, it naturally slips into comedy. In Moyer’s paintings our expectations are teased by pointing out their obviousness.