Friday, October 20, 2006

Robert “Bob” Moore is a local artist whose work has been variously described as “unique”, “unusual,” and “a giant waste of canvass.” His broad-ranging pieces encompass all forms of artistic creation. As one critic succinctly said of Mr. Moore’s oeuvre: “He is a jack of all media but clearly a master of none.”

Bob’s work in oils, pastels, and acrylics evidences a consistent mediocrity and an almost unconscious authenticity that shows through even when he is not trying. What appear to be random splashes of paint are, in fact, random splashes of paint. It has been said of Bob’s paintings that they “give primitivism a bad name.”

Bob’s artistic roots are in the realm of exterior home painting and trim. Noted for his unorthodox approach to outside, oil-based treatments, Bob’s house painting experiments largely went unappreciated in the residential sector. His bold uneven brush strokes over unsanded original paint yielded an unexpected dappled abstract effect that unfortunately left most homeowners cold and unsatisfied. Sadly, none of his original works from that period has survived.

The artist’s short exterior career and a brief court injunction inspired him to try interior painting. His free-spirited and unrestrained approach to walls, doors and ceilings led to some of the boldest indoor murals and friezes ever seen in the western New York State region. Again, sadly, none of those pieces remains. The only record of their existence is a few Polaroid photographs entered as evidence in various local small claims court actions.

Having outgrown the broad brush work of residential surface painting, Bob decided to branch out into more experimental areas of art. Unrestrained by any workplace drug or alcohol restrictions, Mr. Moore was able to redouble his stimulant intake in order to give free reign to his vivid imagination. The results are nothing if not recyclable.

Visitors will note several of Mr. Moore’s works on display that are from his little noted pointillist period. Fuelled by fifths of Jose Cuervo Gold, Bob dipped different-sized cheese graters in vats of leftover latex paint and wildly shook them over floor-based canvasses. The resulting vibrant streaks, drips and spots of overlaid paint almost scream out the artist’s plaintive cry: “Watch out, I’m drunk! Get out of my way!”

Some of the works in this show are from what Mr. Moore calls his “Sober Period.” In the brief interregnum stretching from May 1997 to July 1997, Bob experienced an almost manic burst of creative activity in, what was for him, the previously unfamiliar field of realism. Although less celebrated than his more abstract work, such pieces as Large-eyed Child with Tear and Canasta-playing Dogs at least serve as historical markers in the development of an artistic career that can only be called confusing and uneven.

A return to his various liquid and injectable muses led the artist to perhaps his most creative period. Combining the abstract style of Jackson Pollack, the powerful effects of Jack Daniel’s and crack cocaine, and the novel use of paint pads strapped to his hands, elbows, and knees, Bob’s literally staggering and then crawling genius produced a new archetype that can only be described as “Drunken Expressionism.” A careful examination of his work from this period reveals no two works the same. Superficially, each piece resembles the next but a knowledgeable eye can easily distinguish one drunken night from another.

The artist’s latest works again demonstrate a dramatic departure from the norm. Abandoning the brush, the pad and the roller, Bob has more recently experimented in the sculptural arts. Using only the materials at hand, he has crafted giant installations comprising cigarette butts and empty tequila bottles. Another large work entitled Pin Cushion consists of a dilapidated sofa pierced with dozens of used syringes.

Given his novel use of materials and his uninhibited style, Bob Moore is destined to grow beyond the local market. In fact, if his recent court appearances are any indication, his works could soon be gracing the walls of one of the nation’s premier, high security institutions.

David Martin is a bureaucrat with the Canadian federal government but also does productive work by writing humor on the side. He is the author of the political satire collection entitled My Friend W (Arriviste Press, Boston) and blogs (who doesn’t?) at

Letter to Chris Noth: "Mr. Big," "Detective Logan," and Owner of N.Y.C.'s Cutting Room I was totally digging that 10' by 15' painting of you hung over the door. I liked how it was you, but younger. And thinner. With more hair. I thought that was cool.
36 Hours: Penn Station Beneath the teeming streets of the City That Never Sleeps is a bustling subterranean microcosm inhabited by aspiring vacationers and weary commuters aching to make their connections via the extensive network of subways and railroads.
William Shakespeare's "Serpents Upon a Wingèd Vessel" The apparition of a serpent coiled
Doth churn my blood to pure reptilian chill.
Would that I grasped these wretched asps ...

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