Editorial: "Tectonic" an exhibition by Justin Moore, Cirrus Gallery, September 14 - November 14, 2002 - Publication: Artweek - Date: November 2002

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Whether simply placed in a gallery environment, photographed, drawn or recorded on video or audio tape, automobiles and car accidents have long been used as visual metaphors by artists, their inclusion lying somewhere between performance and disturbance, installation and litter.

This visual archetype has been repeatedly harnessed to construct a narrative about everything and anything from violence and destruction to consumerist icons, industrialization, and or the environment in which we live, religion too has even figured in there somewhere .
Its hard to reinvent the wheel, though sometimes it works Technically dextrous, incisive and even witty, Los Angeles artist Justin Moore seems to have succeeded with his solo show at downtown LA gallery, Cirrus.

Entitled "Tectonic", the exhibition includes painting, sculpture, drawing and prints, each beginning the exploration of the aforementioned narratives. As Moore’s first solo show it is incisive and thoughtful, outstretching the expectations of a premier solo show by a young graduate of the College of Creative Studies at UC Santa Barbara.

Occupying two large spaces, ink on formica line drawing images of a car wreck hang on one wall (TBone 1&2) dyptich, lithographs. The kitsch, fake wood foreground adds a casual found object dimension, seeming to underscore the contrast between the organic and objects of industry.

Directly adjacent, another painterly exercise on contrast via a large realist painting, Wilderness 2002, acrylic on Tara Cloth. A colorful landscape is juxtaposed by another crashed car corpse. The car crash is expressed as the accelerated formation of rocky land masses, while a dense and seemingly endless forest awaits its passengers. A man with a megaphone calls out to guide them; or is he merely directing a delusional fantasy?

Thematically, Moore confides his attempt to gauge human psychological and emotional response to such carnage, "In certain instances of extreme violence, the physical event separates itself from the consciousness of the participant, and two distinct narratives are launched. One is subject to the domination of physical law, while the other, created by such extraordinary effects as "shock" or "divine intervention", leads to what might be called a "psychological wilderness".

Moore attempts to explore this wilderness via imagery boxed in a gaggle of video monitors that lay grouped on the gallery floor. Titled Tectonic 2002 the Video/DVD installation bridges the gulf between photography and painting, each monitor conjuring stillness and emotion. The footage, a delayed frame video of a car crash, more tangible as a vibrant collage rather than a distinct photo realist event

Lightening the load in the face of such extreme bombasticism came my favorite part of the show, an elaborate slot car track, mounted on a vast, mirror coated platform complete with cars and gun controls. The huge, intricate track, featuring extreme geometric angles served as both an elaborate sculpture and perfect interactive entertainment for the gallery crowd.

A further bonus to the Tectonic show was the addition of free original art in the form of scaled versions of his line drawing on Formica piece, titled T-Bone. Cirrus Editions released two new limited edition prints as well as a free web edition available for download during a limited time on their website, www.cirrusgallery.com.

Ultimately Moore’s blend of vision, wit and technical dexterity give him maturity beyond his years. His works successfully peruse consumer culture and formal artistic conceits.

Written by Craig Stephens

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