Whitehot Magazine

Ohana: Ed Moses, Andy Moses, and Kelly Berg at Melissa Morgan Fine Art Gallery in Palm Desert

 ED MOSES, Topal, Acrylic on canvas, 72 x 60 in, 2004


"Ohana: Ed Moses, Andy Moses, and Kelly Berg," an exhibition at Melissa Morgan Fine Art Gallery in Palm Desert, California, opened on March 15th and will run through April 20th. Alec Longmuir, gallery director/partner, titled the show with the Hawaiian term for family. The family’s links to Hawaii began with Ed Moses’ ancestors, who had settled there. Andy Moses spent his honeymoon with his wife, Kelly Berg, in Hawaii. The beauty and power of the Kilauea crater drew Kelly Berg–volcanoes became a significant focal subject in her artwork.

Though deeply immersed as a daily practice, Ed Moses’ painting was noted for its many “mutations.” The artist worked with both hard-edged grid patterns and gestural, expressive forms of painting. Through discovery, Ed Moses retained an openness to the moment and new elements in his art-making process. These tangential explorations became the focus of his compositions.  Kelly Berg and Andy Moses have each retained a distinct focus in their conceptual exploration and evolution. All three have been drawn to an open process of discovery and exploration towards new forms of painting, mark-making, and materials. 

The volcanic phenomena in Berg's artwork have centralized on the features that appear as land breaks apart through fault lines, producing chasms, rifts, and fissures. In her landscapes, the artist presents symbolic geometric forms from ancient civilizations at their inception, like Egyptian-inspired pyramids and obelisks, to touch upon their timeless and universal meanings associated with both an awareness of mortality and the perpetual rebirth of life at humanity's psychological depths. These forms are signposts for the emergence of spiritual enlightenment. 

KELLY BERG, Earth Awakening, Acrylic on Canvas, 60 x 48 in, 2020

Ed Moses returned to the process of pattern-making throughout his creative life span. The act of repetition as an approach engendered unexpected variations that became critical discoveries. New creative phases originated from his open response to chance as an element in his work process. The artist was known to study his work by grouping artworks together, rotating and flipping them. He also described his creative process as tug-and-pull wrestling between himself and the artwork. This dynamic process’ energy was innately impulsive and primordial for the artist. He saw himself in a shamanic struggle amidst forces within himself to bring an artwork into being. 

ED MOSES, Woh-Ine, Acrylic on canvas, 72 x 60 in, 2008 

Andy Moses has communicated his intention to create “imagery that simultaneously alludes to abstract painting, fractal patterning, and suggestions of new kinds of 21st-century landscapes.” The artist’s work process draws from a physical alignment with the material qualities of the paint he uses and the manual dexterity involved in distributing the paint onto the artwork's surface. Through its dispersal, the streaming of the paint itself, upon settling, achieves a unique compositional reality created at a particular point in time that, though repeated, will never have an exact duplicate. The rich and heavy flow from numerous fluid rivulets of paint over an extended process comes to rest as a striation of independently colored lines, giving birth to a cohesive composition that conceptually evokes an abstraction that's timeless and universal yet ephemeral with reminiscences of a natural landscape (as a fractal pattern.) 

ANDY MOSES, Geodesy 1515, Acrylic on canvas over circular wood panel, 72 inches diameter, 2024

While distinctive in their art-making approaches and subject matter, these three artists and their artworks nonetheless evoke a series of complementary dramatic interconnections. Berg's Earth Awakening, Ed Moses' Topal, and Andy Moses' Morphology 036 are cases in point. The cracked terrain and angular lines, with their pointed corners in Kelly Berg's Earth Awakening, can be seen qualitatively as reminiscent elements in the delineation of Ed Moses's Topal's flat, grid-like rectangular shapes. Andy Moses' Geodesy 1515, with its highly energetic flow and undulations, brings forth a dynamic sensation akin to Berg's rifts, zig-zag geometric hard-edged broken land edges. These three artworks have an intrinsic, energetic, dynamic echoing drama that, though not intentional, is discernible. As a concept, Berg focuses on the breaking of the earth with jagged rifts; Ed Moses creates the contrast of a black linear grid sketch framed within a flat rectangular white shape. Undulating flows, crests, and ebbs settle in a dramatic sequence as a composition in Andy Moses' artwork.

KELLY BERG, Volcanic Highway, Acrylic on canvas, 52 x 60 in, 2023

Likewise, Berg’s depiction of a focal cloud formation in Volcanic Highway as a visual, textural element has an atmospheric swirling undulation that hovers over the top of the mountain.  Ed Moses’ Topal’s flat white rectangular shapes with black grids rest amidst a complex arena of gestural strokes. The sequence is atmospherically clustered with swaths that appear fluid and cloudlike. In Andy Moses’ Geomorphology 1510, chromatic fluid striations with irregular vortexes funnel upon themselves, analogous in scenic effect to Ed Moses’ ethereal clouded clustering and Berg’s rock’s surface fluidity. 

ANDY MOSES, Geomorphology 1510, Acrylic on canvas over concave wood panel, 52 x 84 in, 2023

Yet another series of comparison lines appear concerning how light affects space in the artwork—Ed Moses’ Woh-Ine sparkles. Andy Moses’ Geomorphology 1510 glistens, and Berg’s Volcanic Highway mountaintop shines like a beacon radiating from the mountain’s top towards the heavens, beckoning towards the scenic highway. Glittered striatas line Ed Moses’ Woh-Ine’s surface. Andy Moses’ poured and tilted reflective paint reveals flowing auras drifting and converging toward an infinite horizon. Woh-Ine at the center junction of the vertical ribbons converges as well. But it’s not a clear, unobstructed, and open-horizon field. Ed Moses introduces a sequence of gray-tinted raw canvas anomalies that appear hovering like specters. While in Berg’s Earth Awakening, cracked, jagged fault lines delineate not a horizon but an abyss-like opening into depths unknown.

Ed Moses, Andy Moses, and Kelly Berg bring forward different art expressions that diverge significantly from each other in their compositional concepts. Their material usage and art-making processes are distinct for each artist; a dramatic essence at work in their expressions peeks through, and together, they create a dialogue in the exhibition space. Like the term “Ohana,” dramatic elements in their artworks attest to a creative discourse that’s overarching and complementary to each other. Each worked in their neighboring studios and developed their journey by mutations and deepening conceptual themes. Together, they forged inspired and richly rewarding bonds with links to the Island of Hawaii.

On view March 15, 2024 through April 20, 2024. WM


Lorien Suárez-Kanerva

As a Geometric Abstract artist, Lorien Suárez-Kanerva explores the dynamic interplay of color, light, and geometric patterns found in nature and the cosmos.  A Retrospective of Lorien’s work titled “Coalescing Geometries” won First Place in Non-Fiction at the 2019 International Latino Book Awards. She has exhibited in several curated solo and group shows in NYC, Los Angeles, and Miami. Her artwork appears at International Art Fairs and educational centers including Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton Museum of Art, and UC Berkeley’s Engineering Department. Lorien resides in Palm Desert, California.

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