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August 2010, Interview with Jazz-minh Moore


Jazz-Minh Moore, My Little Heile Welt, 2010
Acrylic and Resin on Birch Panel, 12" x 22.5"
Courtesy of the artist and Lyons Wier Gallery

 


Ana Finel Honigman in conversation with Jazz-minh Moore

Jazz-minh Moore’s Slipping Sideways series of portraits, shown at New York’s Lyons Wier Gallery, depict Moore herself, her sisters and kindred spirits enveloped in turbulent winds, creating arresting portraits of creative chaos.

The lateral composition that defines the portraits emphasizes tangled and tussled hair, while the subjects' expressions range from resistance to ecstasy over their evident lack of control. Moore honed her precise technical skill by painting portraits of elderly but intellectually sharp and sassy subjects. In this series, her own inspiring physical vitality, which she usually expresses as a dancer, yoga devotee and surfer, infuses an intense sense of movement and sensuality in her beautiful and charismatic images.

Moore was raised on a commune in Oregon, educated in California and currently lives in Manhattan. She portrays herself as enveloped in her surroundings, when in reality she's a rare enlivening influence who radiates energy whatever her environment. I met Moore when I was miserably manning the front desk of an Upper East Side art gallery months after graduating from Sarah Lawrence college. Moore happened to walk in, and after a few minutes chatting with her I quit my job to go racing with her through Chelsea. Here we bid time until we can dash around Manhattan again, hopefully gathering supplies for one of her extraordinary dinnerparties, by chatting about her art of transferring temptation and tension into her magnificently evocative paintings.

Ana Finel Honigman: Did you name the series based on work’s visual format or was there more of an underlining narrative meaning?

Jazz-minh Moore: 'Slipping Sideways' does have to do with the horizontal format, the sense of lateral motion but for me it's a lot more philosophical.

Honigman: In an abstract or personal sense?

Moore: For me, “Slipping Sideways” is actually about finding/allowing/creating space and time to slip out the side door of my own ambitious, hierarchical, linear character. I am such a driven person, that I find my-SELF leaking out the sides of my own well laid out plans. The vicious, uptight, practical part of my character is always holding the feral, ferocious side together, and away from the controls.

Honigman: Does your art help you maintain control over worrisome wants?

Moore: If my feral, subterranean self can't be in control of the directions my life takes then at least it can dictate the subject matter of my paintings. I will never actually run away with the circus and become a can-can dancing trapeze artist with a pet sloth and a tiny pig chasing at my heels. So, these paintings reflect all of the inarticulate, messy turmoil; the sex and whimsy, the aggression and fuck and love, and the secrets, that exist below my linear thought processes, my presented self.

Honigman: Besides yourself, who are your subjects? Are they people who are similarly conflicted?

Moore: Most of the subjects in the paintings are either my sisters or my close friends, but sometimes I will snap a shot of someone I don't know, if the wind has picked up their hair and their expression reflects the real, physical assault of the wind. I have to feel the person, and the atmosphere, in order to paint them. I want the people to be confronted by something that makes them lose the mask of 'everyone's fine and we're all friendly and let's all just smile because life will be easier that way, and we don't want to seem inappropriate.

Honigman: Do you select your subjects also for their obvious natural beauty?

Moore: The stark reality is that natural beauty is a sign of youth and sex and health. I happen to be a fairly healthy person, and I take care of my body. My sisters are young and healthy. Maybe when I am old, my work will change, but for now, I paint my experience. Well I'm not that young. I'm 31. But my sisters are all much younger than me, so I feel like I kind of get to stay young. And actually, I just did a painting of my grandmother, who is as crisp and shrewdly beautiful in her old age as any of us at any age. So, I do paint beauty, but it doesn't always coincide with youth.  

 


Jazz-Minh Moore, La Goulue Self Portrait, 2010
Acrylic and Resin on Birch Panel, 12" x 16"
Courtesy of the artist and Lyons Wier Gallery



Jazz-Minh Moore, Crepuscular, 2010
Acrylic and Resin on Birch Panel, 12" x 28.5"
Courtesy of the artist and Lyons Wier Gallery

 


Jazz-Minh Moore, Hypertrichosis Self Portrait, 2010
Acrylic and Resin on Birch Panel, 12" x 15.5"
Courtesy of the artist and Lyons Wier Gallery

 


Jazz-Minh Moore, Bite Me, 2010
Acrylic and Resin on Birch Panel, 12" x 28.5"
Courtesy of the artist and Lyons Wier Gallery



Jazz-Minh Moore, Rowan, 2010
Acrylic and Resin on Birch Panel, 12" x 22"
Courtesy of the artist and Lyons Wier Gallery

Ana Finel Honigman, New York

Ana Finel Honigman is a Berlin-based critic. She writes about contemporary art and fashion for magazines including Artforum.com, Art in America, V, TANK, Art Journal, Whitewall, Dazed & Confused, Saatchi Online, Style.com, Dazeddigital.com, British Vogue, Interview and the New York Times's Style section. A Sarah Lawrence graduate, Ana has completed a Masters degree and is currently reading for a D.Phil in the History of Art at Oxford University. She also teaches a contemporary art course for NYU's Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development students. You can read her series Ana Finel Honigman Presents.

 

Photo: Maxime Ballesteros


 

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