Donald Moffett has seen “The Radiant Future” and it looks a lot like a rya – or at least the extruded paint on his rya-like paintings look amazingly like the pile of a beautiful textile.
Closely examining works of art in many media can spark ideas for textiles. It’s rare that there is SUCH a correlation between a painting and a weaving technique. Moffett’s pieces are beautiful. His use of contrast between the positive and negative spaces is inspiring. A rya could be woven that emphasizes the shapes of the non-pile areas. The solid intense colors of his works are appealing. There is a shading effect at the boundaries of his shapes created by the direction of the oil paint “pile.”
You can hear the artist talking about how he creates the paintings in this audio interview, done on the occasion of the installation of The Extravagant Vein, the first-ever comprehensive retrospective exhibition of his work, at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. The interviewer says to the artist that his extruded oil paintings look like bath mats. (Of course, the reference to the textile-like properties of the paintings is disparaging.) Moffett described his process; he works with the paintings down on the floor and lets them dry for months before hanging them. The paint is protruding into space. The installers told the interviewer that the paintings were incredibly difficult to install and that they are very fragile. “One false move, and the little shards of paint can chip off,” the installers noted. Moffett talked about his work with the spaces carved out of his paintings. How much can be chiseled away from the work, and yet retain the rectangle and reference to historical painting? He noted that his paintings will be drying for years, that they are sharp and dangerous and fragile, all at the same time.
How would you clean his faux ryas? I think I’ll stick with yarn, while completely admiring his work and thanking him for inspiration.