An Opinion piece: Moss Galleries

Elizabeth Moss owns galleries in both Falmouth and Portland Maine, she’s spent roughly 17 years perfecting her galleries. Moss started in 2004 with only a few artists, however, now both galleries feature a wide range of art by over 50 different local and non-local artists. From paintings of horses by Bengi Grignon to figurative abstract paintings and sculptures by Jenna Pirello. 

The most recent installation in the Portland gallery is by Jenna Pirello, it’s a continuation of her regular works of abstraction, while still focusing on identifiable figures. There are deep layers of color, texture, and lines highlighted in her work. The shape and scale in her pieces stay similar to one another; the entire installation is meant to represent a busy brain, one that is constantly interrupted but is still able to make some sense. Pirello states, “It’s not about sense, it’s about sensation.” The idea that art can be anything as well as be created by anyone, without needing to make sense is deeply meaningful and powerful in the art world. One shouldn’t be held back by ideas of self-doubt when creating art, art’s simple purpose is to generate feeling. Her installation is titled Shapeshifters and it officially opens on April 22 at the new Moss Galleries on 100 Fore Street in Portland. This exhibition will be on view through May 21, 2023. 

Each exhibition meets the public eye a little differently. The new works by Benji Grignon highlight the beauty in horses. “When the wind was in the north, you could hear them; horses, and the breath of the horses, and the horse’s hooves that were shod in rawhide, and the rattle of the lances, and the constant drag of the travois poles in the sand like the passing of some enormous serpent. And the young boys naked on wild horses, jaunty as circus riders and hazing wild horses before them, and the dogs trotting with their tongues allol and foot slaves following half naked and sorely burdened, and above all, the low chant of their traveling song which the riders sang as they rode. Nation and ghost of nation passing in a soft corral across that mineral waste to darkness, barren, lost to all history and all remembrance like a grail, the sum of their secular and transitory violent lives.”  -Cormac McCarthy, All the Pretty Horses

Benji is an American painter and horseman who is also being featured at Moss galleries. He paints in an array of bright colors and textures in order to highlight the uniqueness and vibrancy of each individual horse, using mostly oil on canvas to do so. While his work bridges realism and surrealism there is an abstract aspect to each painting. This exhibition hits a bit closer to home for me, as my mother grew up with horses, and I’ve always had a passion for them as well. When starting my art-creating journey I would draw horses every day, changing them a little bit, in a different way. Either through the color choice, the setting, or the way the horse was positioned. This installation of horse paintings reminded me of why I got so invested in art as a child. It reminded me of how simple art can be, while still being considered unique and beautiful. 

Moss galleries in Portland and Falmouth are open Tuesday to Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., as well as on Sundays by appointment or by chance. In need of inspiration, or feeling like supporting a local business? Stop in and take a look around at the art on display. Perhaps you’ll find something you hadn’t realized you were looking for.

Categories: Uncategorized

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