Ed Moses portrait - photo credit LA Times

Ed Moses/ Ed Moses

United States 1926

Abstract Art, Painting, Drawing

Ed Moses
Ed Moses
Male
United States
1926

Ed Moses, an eminent American abstract painter has been one of the central figures in the Los Angeles circle of artists for more than fifty years. His exhibitions at the Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles were among the key events at West Coast art scene from 1957 to 1966. Ed Moses belongs to the generation of artists called the cool school, whose philosophy was to perceive painting and drawing as a long-lasting process of personal development. Moses’ pieces are somewhere in between semi-representational and abstract, they contain a lot of patterns and geometric shapes, which are partially inspired by the Native Indian tradition.

Moses’ pieces are somewhere in between semi-representational and abstract

Ed Moses - Bronco - X Diptych, 2006 - image via magnoliaeditions.com
Ed Moses – Bronco – X Diptych, 2006 – image via magnoliaeditions.com

Adventurous Life Path

Moses is famous for his unusual life path, full of adventures and unexpected turns. He is originally from Long Beach, California and was in the navy as a medical technician throughout World War II. Even though he was a very bright young man, Moses had poor memory skills and couldn’t get accepted into any medical school in the United States. As a result, he couldn’t become a doctor, no matter how much he was interested in medicine. At the same time, drawing was his hobby since childhood, and he decided to give a chance to painting classes. His first teacher was the eccentric Pedro Miller who immediately recognized Moses’ talent. In 1949, he decided to leave Long Beach City College and try to transfer to UCLA. However, he wasn’t satisfied with UCLA art department so he left it and enrolled in the University of Oregon, where the same thing happened – he found the school overly traditional and conservative. Disappointed and mad, Moses left this school and became a crewmember on a sardine ship. In 1953, he decided to give a second chance to UCLA and re-enrolled there only to infuriate the faculty before obtaining his MFA, because he chose not to hold his graduate show at the school gallery. Even though Moses was prone to sudden decisions and acting on a whim, due to his immense talent, after his graduate show at the Ferus Gallery he became literally a star and worked hard for the next twenty years, which brought him a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship in 1980.

Ed Moses - Copper, 2013 - image via newamericanpaintings.com
Ed Moses – Copper, 2013 – image via newamericanpaintings.com

Intuitive Connection With Painting

Moses often talks about his intuitive relationship with artistic activities. He likes to consider himself a shaman who is leaving the evidence of his own existence for his tribe, which is his audience. Just like a shaman is materializing the unknown through his chanting, so is Moses trying to capture the unfathomable through his paintings. He is also a Buddhist and claims that religion and philosophy have an important position in his lifestyle. In addition to religion, Navajo traditional crafts have been influential for Moses, especially the way Navaho people weave their blankets. Moses was impressed by their complicated patterns and incorporated the similar elaborate patterns in his art, especially drawings on vellum.

Navajo traditional crafts have been influential for Moses, especially the way Navaho people weave their blankets

Ed Moses -Diamond Jim, 2008 - image via magnoliaeditions.com contact american artist
Ed Moses – Diamond Jim, 2008 – image via magnoliaeditions.com

Main Bodies of Work

Moses’s turbulent career has been dedicated to drawing, painting, printmaking, installation and even modern media such as stencils and spray paint. Roughly speaking, we can divide his entire body of work in two parts. The first part, from 1951 to 1953, included various architectural constructions. The second part which started in the mid-50s is already non-objective since at that time Moses started to focus on the surface and process, rather than the representation. In the 1970s, Moses began to experiment with process and material and decided to include resin in his painting, because it allowed him to transcend the traditional containment of the canvas. During the 1990s, his paintings became even more abstract but at the same time grid-based. In the late 1990s, restless and always innovative, Moses began to use new materials again, such as spray paints. In 1996, Moses’ entire lifetime collection was presented at the retrospective exhibition at Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles.

In the 60s and the 70d, Moses started to focus on the surface and process, rather than the representation

Ed Moses - Untitled, 1972 - image via franklloyd.com contact american artist
Ed Moses – Untitled, 1972 – image via franklloyd.com

Engaging in Magic

Moses claims even now when he is 89 years old, that the pleasure of painting is much more important than his success and fame. He is still quite meticulous and obsessive when it comes to the relationship with his own pieces and said that he destroys around three-quarters of his pieces. When asked about the process of creating his pieces, Moses replies: It’s sort of like a dream, in a sense. It’s not real. And I go to bed at night thinking about it, and I can’t really understand it. Moses sees the creation of art as a magical gift, an unusual yet deeply beautiful response to the life, people and the world itself.

Ed Moses lives and works in Venice, California.

Featured image: Ed Moses portrait – photo credit LA Times
All images used for illustrative purpose only.

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2013Yesterday's TomorrowBrian Gross Fine Art, San Francisco, CASolo
2013Green/BronzeCharlotte Jackson Fine Art, Santa Fe, NMSolo
2013A Stone Mirror ReversedLeslie Sacks Contemporary, Santa Monica, CASolo
2013Ed MosesGalleri s.e, Bergen, NorwaySolo
2012New Works: The Crackle PaintingsPatrick Painter Inc., Santa Monica, CASolo
2012Ed Moses: NotionsMark Borghi Fine Art, Bridgehampton, NYSolo
2012Garden of Forking Tongues (Bifurcated)Ace Gallery, Los Angeles, CASolo
2011Shatterheads and GwynnErnie Wolfe Gallery, Los Angeles, CASolo
2011ASAP & FriendsCharlotte Jackson Fine Art, Santa Fe, NMSolo
2011LiteImago Galleries, Palm Desert, CASolo
2011Through the Looking Glass with Ed MosesArt link, Seoul, KoreaSolo
2010Wic WackBrian Gross Fine Art, San Francisco, CASolo
2010AirborneBrian Gross Fine Art at One Post Street, San Francisco, CASolo
2010Ed MosesFrank Lloyd Gallery, Greenfield Sacks Gallery, Santa Monica, CASolo
2010GestureBrian Gross Fine Art, San Francisco, CAGroup
2009Ed Moses: MutatorFrank Lloyd Gallery, Greenfield Sacks Gallery, Santa Monica, CASolo
2009Ed MosesPeter Blake Gallery, Laguna Beach, CAnnSolo
2008OwlboBrian Gross Fine Art, San Francisco, CASolo
2008Ed Moses: PaintingsFrank Lloyd Gallery, Santa Monica, CASolo
2008Mapiko: musings from A-FarErnie Wolfe Gallery, Los Angeles, CASolo
2008Thinking about Walter HoppsPatrick Painter Inc., Los Angeles, CAGroup
2008California in New YorkHubert Gallery, New YorkGroup
2007Ed Moses: Primal and Primary Painting 1975Charlotte Jackson Fine Art, Santa Fe, NMSolo
2007Past Here and Now Part 1 & 2Robert Green Fine Arts, Mill Valley, CASolo
2007Ed Moses PaintingsFrank Lloyd & Bobbie Greenfield Galleries, Santa Monica, CASolo
2007New Year in Black and White i-5 Gallery, Los Angeles, CAGroup
2007Sensuality in the AbstractFrank Lloyd Gallery, Santa Monica, CAGroup
2006New PaintingsBrian Gross Fine Art, San Francisco, CASolo
2006Ed Moses: Tapestries and PaintingsBobbie Greenfield Gallery, Santa Monica, CASolo
2006Monochrome Paintings 1975-1976Margo Leavin Gallery, Los Angeles, CASolo
2006Louise Bourgeois, John Chamberlain, Ed Moses, Kenneth NolandGalleri S.E., Bergen, NorwayGroup
2006Ed Moses, Craig Kauffman, Larry Bell: DrawingsFrank Lloyd Gallery, Santa Monica, CAGroup
2005The JabberwockImago Galleries, Palm Desert, CASolo
2005PinkPatricia Faure Gallery, Santa Monica, CAGroup
2005ConversationsNatural History Museum, Los Angeles, CAGroup
2004New PaintingsBrian Gross Fine Art, San Francisco, CASolo
2004Cross-CutChristopher Grimes Gallery, Santa Monica, CASolo
2004PaperPatricia Faure Gallery, Santa Monica, CAGroup
2003Ed MosesL A Louver Gallery, Venice, CASolo
2003DoubleVisionDoubleVision Gallery, Los Angeles, CASolo
2003Recent Works by Marco Casentini, Teo González & Ed MosesBrian Gross Fine Art, San Francisco, CAGroup
2003Ed MosesL.A. Louver, Venice, CAGroup
2002Broken RojaKlein Artworks, Chicago, ILSolo
2002Recent PaintingsCrocker Plaza, San Francisco, CASolo
2002Growing up in L.A.Davis/Keil, Naples, FLGroup
2002Watercolor: In the AbstractTraveling ExhibitGroup
2001Ed MosesL. A. Louver, Los Angeles, CASolo
2001Abstraction: Ed Moses and Rana RochatGallery of Contemporary Art, Lewis & Clark College, Portland, ORGroup
2001Out of L.A. : 6 California ArtistsBernard Jacobson Gallery, London, UKGroup
2000New WorkBrian Gross Fine Art, San Francisco, CASolo
2000Ed MosesNicole Klagsburn, New York, NYSolo
1999Vision-Usher SeriesBrian Gross Fine Art, San Francisco, CASolo
1999Made in America; Contemporary Paintings and Sculpture from the Norton Simon MuseumNorton Simon Museum and Armory Center for the Arts, Pasadena, CAnnGroup
1998Primal StrategiesBrian Gross Fine Art, San Francisco, CASolo
1997Up Against the WallL.A. Louver, Venice, CASolo
1997A Thought InterceptedCalifornia Museum of Art, Santa Rosa, CAnnGroup
1995PaintL.A. Louver, Venice, CASolo
1995Color PaintingBrian Gross Fine Art, San Francisco, CAGroup
1993DrawingsEarl McGrath Gallery, Los Angeles, CASolo
1993Art in Los Angeles: Eight Artists in the SixtiesAsher Faure, Los Angeles, CAGroup
1992Choice EncountersThe Long Beach Museum of Art, Long Beach, CAGroup
1990Ed Moses: PrintsSanta Monica Heritage Museum, Santa Monica, CASolo
1990Abstraction: John Altoon, Sam Francis, Craig Kauffman, John McLaughlin and Ed MosesHara Museum ARC, JapanGroup
1988Ed MosesL.A. Louver, Venice, CASolo
1988Visions of Inner SpaceGallery of Modern Art, New Delhi, IndiaGroup
1986Ed MosesGilbert Brownstone and Cie, Paris, FranceSolo
1986New AcquisitionsNational Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DCGroup
1984Ed MosesLarry Gagosian Gallery, Los Angeles, CASolo
1984American / European: Painting, Drawing, SculptureL.A. Louver, Venice, CAGroup
1983The First Show - Inaugural ExhibitionMuseum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CAGroup
1982Ed MosesJanus Gallery, Los Angeles, CASolo
1980Ed MosesRiko Mizuno Gallery, Los Angeles, CASolo
1980Southern California Artists, 1940-1980Laguna Beach Museum of Art, Laguna Beach, CAGroup
1975Ed MosesAndre Emmerich Gallery, New York NYSolo
1975Four From the East, Four From the WestLos Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CAGroup
1970Ed MosesRiko Mizuno Gallery, Los Angeles, CASolo
1965Ed MosesAlan Gallery, New York NYSolo
1965The Studs: Moses, Irwin, Price, BengstonFerus Gallery, Los Angeles, CAnGroup
1962AnnualSan Francisco Museum of Art, San Francisco, CAGroup