Ed Moses

BIOGRAPHY

1926-2018

Ed Moses at the Telluride Gallery of Art

Considered one of the foremost postwar abstract painters in the Southern California scene,  working alongside a generation of artists known as the “cool school,” Ed Moses was engaged in what he saw as a continual process of discovery for more than half a century. As he  described, “Painting is like discovery, trying this, trying that, bending this, twirling that, and  then every once in awhile it goes bing!” His compositions include Braque-inspired semi-representational scenes, abstract allover patterns, color fields and hard-edged geometric  shapes. In the catalog of Moses’ 1996 retrospective exhibition of paintings and drawings  at Los Angeles’ Museum of Contemporary Art, critic John Yau wrote, “The diversity he has achieved is unparalleled among contemporary abstract artists. And within this diversity is an emotional range that is also unparalleled.” For Moses, however, success was secondary to  the pleasure of painting itself. 

Moses was a spiritual descendant of the Abstract Expressionists and a student of Buddhism  who meditated daily, and blazed his own trail to aesthetic truth. Working with unconventional materials and tools, including mops, hoses and rubber scrapers, he painted behind his  house in Venice, where he lived for more than 30 years, or on an open-air concrete slab and  in a barn-like studio. As his career evolved, he produced intricately crafted diagonal grids as  well as splashy gestural works. 

“My thought is that the artist functions in a tribal context, that he is the shaman. When the  urban life came in, tribes no longer existed … but there was still a genetic core of shamans,  of magic men, broken loose and genetically floating around. And when they had this gene,  they shook the rattles. The shamans were the interpreters of the unknown, they reacted to  the unknown with symbols and objects and wall painting. And that’s where it all came from.  That’s where I came from, but when you’re a young man you don’t know that.” -Ed Moses 

Collections 

Art Institute of Chicago, IL 

Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA  

Museum of Modern Art, New York & Los Angeles 

National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institute, Washington, DC San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA 

Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN 

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY 

Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, FR