Mick Moon obituary


The British painter Mick Moon, who has died aged 86, had a classy understanding of the capabilities of an paintings – its capacity to signify a variety of topics and experiences whereas remaining a novel object in its personal proper. His output ranged from items of calico or canvas that had been moulded round studio props, partitions or floorboards, to his early “strip work” – bands of modulated color on plastic – and his later semi-figurative works, of which the which means is ineffable.

Within the radiant hues and tactile floor of Embers (1991-92), for instance, a glowing, meticulously detailed instance of bidriware – metalware initially related to Bidar in southern India – floats over a inexperienced and yellow background, as if some fragment of a transcendent actuality has been found and translated into acrylic and silkscreen.

Regardless of its stimulation of the senses and references to Indian tradition, the image stays mysterious, set other than the world to which it alludes.

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Embers, 1991-92, acrylic on calico with silk display collages and mounted on canvas, by Mick Moon. {Photograph}: Courtesy property of Mick Moon

Moon’s curiosity in creating works that had been primarily mute objects with a robust materials presence advanced from his admiration of Georges Braque. He was notably within the studio work that the nice French artist produced late in his profession, a long time after he and Picasso had invented Cubism. In Moon’s view, Braque’s “tableaux-objets” represented his “deep immersion in his personal non-public obsessions and philosophy, translating objects and areas into artwork via his uniquely private imaginative and prescient”.

The debt to Braque conjures up a modernist period that has handed into historical past. Furthermore, Moon’s shut pals and friends when he was establishing his profession in the course of the Nineteen Sixties included Howard Hodgkin, Patrick Caulfield and John Hoyland, all of whom predeceased him. But Moon’s work seem much less like interval items than these of his extra well-known contemporaries, partly as a result of he all the time eschewed artwork actions and associations.

His works’ bodily energy, their capacity to stimulate the tactile creativeness in addition to delight the attention, resists categorisation. A few of his most memorable photos are imprinted with the patterns of picket floorboards, which Moon reworked into ripples of water, contrasted with silhouettes of boats or human figures.

As so usually, he was impressed to make this artistic alternative by a visit, on this case to Venice in 2007. The system of utilizing the grain of timber on this manner led him to signify not solely the Venetian lagoon but in addition reminiscences of the ocean in locations from Goa and Mumbai to Fleetwood, in Lancashire.

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Search, 2019, acrylic and blended media on calico mounted on board, by Mick Moon. {Photograph}: Cristea Roberts Gallery, London/Courtesy property of Mick Moon

Revealingly, Moon referred, when describing these works, to a “frequent thread” in his profession, which he described as an emphasis on his personal considerations, quite than “an excessive amount of of an consciousness of what’s going on artistically, socially and politically at any specific second”. As soon as once more, it was to Braque that he attributed this tendency. “It’s this instance that has fed me all through my profession.”

Born in Edinburgh, Mick was the son of Marjory (nee Metcalfe) and Donald Moon. On the outbreak of the second world battle his father was enlisted into the military, and Mick, together with his mom and brother, Colin, moved to his grandmother Edith’s residence in Blackpool.

Donald largely disappeared from household life after being despatched to India for his service, and that posting sparked Mick’s enduring fascination with the nation. After the battle, Marjory began a profession as a business artist in London, and Mick and his brother had been despatched to a boarding faculty within the Sussex city of Shoreham-by-Sea.

In 1955 Marjory, who was by then working for the Each day Mirror, discovered a job for Mick engaged on comics for the Amalgamated Press, however the next yr he was referred to as for nationwide service, spending two years within the Schooling Corps, together with a spell in Celle in Germany, the place he taught map studying. On return he started his diploma at Chelsea College of Artwork. It was there that he met Caulfield and encountered Braque’s work, on which he wrote his final-year thesis, in 1962.

After just a few months on the MA course on the Royal Faculty of Artwork, Moon returned to Chelsea as a instructor, with Hoyland as one in every of his colleagues. In 1969 he took a studio in Hodgkin’s Kensington home, the place Caulfield additionally labored, and had his first solo exhibition, at Waddington Galleries.

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Desk, 1978, by Mick Moon. {Photograph}: Tate/Courtesy property of Mick Moon

For some time he targeting creating his strip work: he displayed these, along with artwork by Caulfield and Hodgkin, on the Galerie Stadler in Paris in 1972, in addition to, a yr later, in a bigger group present on the Musée d’Artwork Moderne de la Ville de Paris.

On the similar time, Moon took up a educating publish on the Slade College of Advantageous Artwork in London, and started to show away from experiments with color to the compositions primarily based on the contents of his studio.

This profitable interval included an exhibition on the Tate Gallery, London, in 1976, a tour of India within the early 80s together with his first spouse, Anjum Khan, whom he had married in 1977, and an artist’s residency on the Prahran College of Artwork and Design in Melbourne in 1982.

In addition to portray, Moon explored completely different types of graphic artwork, for which he gained the Gulbenkian print award in 1984. The complicated, multilayered fashion that he developed in varied media emphasised his photos’ materials qualities, at instances evoking a palimpsest or a wall of graffiti. It was, above all, his work’s bodily depth and sweetness that gave it a long-lasting attraction, particularly in lots of summer time exhibitions on the Royal Academy, to which Moon was elected in 1994.

His first marriage led to divorce in 2001. Moon is survived by his second spouse, Philippa Stjernsward, whom he married in 2013; the kids from his first marriage, Timur and Adam; and a grandson, Marcus.


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