Transmutation

Moira Dryer Portriat of a Fingerprint 1988

“I’m doing more diptychs with signature boxes and more fingerprint paintings, which are constantly transmuting into a new identity. They started out as something quite specific, the use of the finger print; it was a joke on artistic identity and authorship, and I didn’t think I was going to take it this far. It was also a way of being able to make a lot of different kinds of paintings. It was an image I could group the work around. It developed away from that really, on its own will. It’s been exciting.” Moira Dryer in conversation with Klaus Ottman, 1988.

Moira Dryer’s paintings are not well known outside of New York City. But her Abstract Mannerist paintings on plywood have had a huge influence on the work of many painters that followed. Dryer uses veils of thin color to create diaphanous illusions of space and light which open up and critique the structures and theoretics of American Modernism from the 50s and 60s. Dryer’s paintings are quiet, lovely abstractions with a sly sense of humor and a romantic vision.

“Dryer used experimental materials to create richly hued fields of color by melding orderly elements, such as patterns or loose stripes, with visceral drips and organic bursts, calling to mind early Frank Stella, Clyfford Still, Morris Louis, and Helen Frankenthaler, among others. With a background in theater, Dryer described her emotive pieces as ‘props’ – which became active characters in their own performance or narrative. The artist often customized her paintings with cutouts or holes; paired them with shelves; or applied found objects, such as locks or luggage handles to the sides, suggestive of objects that had parallel lives beyond the gallery wall.” The Moira Dryer Project, 11 Rivington, 2014.

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