Between Tragedy and Frivolity
Linda Warren Projects proudly kicks off the fall art season with the solo exhibitions of two noteworthy Chicago-based artists, Brenda Moore and David Reninger, who celebrate the imagination by transposing the animal figures of their empathy into allegorical forms of visual poetry. Like fables or fairytales full of fantasy and folly, their anthropomorphized animals are quite deceptive - like wolves wrapped in sheep’s clothing.
On display in Gallery Y, “Between Tragedy and Frivolity” marks Brenda Moore’s second solo exhibition in the gallery and presents itself like Act II to “Horse in the Bedroom,” her first solo exhibition in the gallery in 2006. It was then that Moore set to convey through a range of materials --including an onsite installation of her childhood bedroom-- her unrequited love for horses. Since then, Moore’s connection and deepening affection for the equine species has become evermore developed, specifically in a very real kinship with a horse named Scootch, who appears center stage throughout the exhibit. This beloved animal has been Moore’s anchor and artistic Muse, a symbol of heroic strength and beauty, freedom and stability, and like her artistic practice, a powerful means of escape – a living elixir to restore life and heal from the loss of her father and aunt.
While Moore’s art is intensely personal, it is also widely relevant and dependent on universal themes that speak to emptiness and loss, determination and recovery, invention and experimentation, history, memory and the power of dreaming. In the spirit of an anything-goes rococo frivolity, Moore dissolves and integrates notions of history and time, intermixing real and fictitious characters from the past and present. Overt references are made to myriad sources of inspiration, including Tiepolo’s oil sketch modellos, Virginia Woolf’s “Orlando” and William Butler Yeats’ poem, “A Crazed Girl.” Moore pays homage to these many brilliant artists, but none are more meaningful and impactful than her beloved father – the literary professor, writer, model ship maker whose presence permeates the entire show.
Brenda Moore: Artists Statement
As a child I yearned to keep a horse to posses a horse and was obsessed by everything related to this creature to the point of taking on its spirit. Never was this yearning realized in actuality. I started making art about this subject as early as age five as a means to cultivate this desire. It was as if I believed a horse would magically materialize in my suburban backyard from performing this act. For most of my life this goal has been put aside for one reason or another. Since childhood I have felt a kinship with horses with a sense of compassion for their nature: their joy, curiosity, their fear, sorrow: their loss of spirit or soul, due to mans treatment. Having never rode horses as a child or had any contact; save for a few glimpses from a car window or petting zoo, this creature has remained aloof. As the years have gone by embarrassment relocated emulation to be a horse on the outside to the inside.
Looking back on my work I have noticed that at least every five years the horse has been included in or a main focus as subject. For this exhibition I decided to indulge my desire to possess this animal, researching horses: horse sense, handling, grooming and care, owning, learning to ride, etc. A Standard Saddlebred named Ace is my current teacher in the schools of self- determination, discipline, and respect for my teacher as well as myself. Ultimately this has led to a self-reckoning that has reconnected my sense of compassion and vulnerability.
This body of work was indeed to be about the horse solely, by portraying its behavior from the animal’s point of view. In doing so, human nature crept in: pretensions, apprehensions, anxiety, as well as self-doubt all surrounded the work. The original intention to represent this subject changed in part to more of an anthropomorphic view, realizing I was using this animal as metaphor for people in my life as well as myself (also casting this subject in roles significant of recent events).
The horse in the bedroom. is inspired by my bedroom from childhood. Universally it is to symbolize a girl child’s room that has fallen head over heels in love with horses. My Breyer horse collection is in tact on the shelves of the hutch along with my childhood books and my modified rocking chair/horse. Also in the bedroom is work made through the years to include a more recent past. The horse in the bedroom. is a reflection on my life, about making connections of present and past in order to order my future.