John L. Moore (2015)

John L. Moore

Moore received a Tree of Life Individual Artist Grant in 2015 for Preservation and Placement of Art.


John Moore was born in Cleveland, OH in 1939 and earned a BFA and MA from Kent State University. His solo exhibitions include: Columbus Museum of Art, OH; Alternative Museum, NY; Jamaica Center for the Arts, NY; New England School of Art & Design, Boston, MA; Howard Scott Gallery, NY; High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA; Tomoko Liguori Gallery, NY; Montgomery Museum, AL; and Cleveland Center for Contemporary Art, OH. International exhibitions include: Changwon Museum, Korea, Tokushima Modern Art Museum and Otani Art Museum, Japan. Moore received fellowships and awards from: New York Foundation for the Arts, National Endowment for the Arts, Ohio Arts Council, Robert Blackburn Print Workshop, Tesque Foundation, Joan Mitchell Fellowship in Painting, the Cleveland Art Prize, and a commission for a mural at the Cleveland Public Library. His work is in the following public collections: High Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum, Cleveland Museum of Art, Columbus Museum of Art, MIT List Visual Arts Center, NY Public Library, New Jersey State Museum, Studio Museum in Harlem, Bronx Museum and Montgomery Museum.

 Project Description

I have always lived near the water, growing up in Ohio on the shores of Lake Erie, and now in New York City on the Atlantic Ocean. Landscape and the forces of wind have had an important influence on my paintings, which are often about conflicts between nature and the made, and about reconciling the irreconcilable on both a personal and political level. My works have also been informed by readings on the history of the Middle Passage in which two million slaves were lost at sea while crossing the Atlantic, and that elicits many personal unanswered questions. In many of my paintings, organic ovoid and elliptical shapes are meant to suggest a kind of freedom as they float, cluster, and disperse throughout turbulent watery fields. These shapes suggest vacant mirrors and act as surrogates for the human presence and those of many lost souls. A question always remains: How did I get here? One unknown ancestor made the crossing. The middle crossing is in my DNA.

I have been a painter for more than forty years, and I still continue to work in my studio every day. In those four decades, I have built up a considerable body of work consisting of paintings, drawings and prints; a number have gone to private collections and to museums. However, others are in my studio and several storage spaces. Now at age 76, with the knowledge that I will lose my studio within two years, my goal is to place other works in good public collections. To do this, I will retrieve works from storage spaces and assess their condition and organize, catalog and document them. Many works are only documented in old slides and these need to be re-photographed. I also need to do condition reports on the work and enter them into a comprehensive database. My long-term goal is to complete the cataloging of my work, place it additional public collections and to produce a book about my work.