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Charles Alexander Moffat Retrospective 1999

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Advertising Criticism #1 : 1999

Advertising Criticism #2 : 1999

Advertising Criticism #3 : 1999

For years now people have asked me for more details about my work, poking me with questions about how I made them, why I made them and what the paintings mean. And of course the obvious question, how much?

I don't even try to sell my paintings (but people do buy them sometimes). Many of my works are rather academic and theoretical. They are not the kind of paintings that you would see in on someone's livingroom wall or at the dentist office. Instead, they are the kind of paintings you might see in a major art gallery, where theoretical and historical paintings find their place.

I do occasionnally do commissions however, as you will see, and I do occasionally sell my paintings as well. I am rather loathe to part with them however.

My popularity is also rather flattering. I have fans all over the world, university students writing essays about my work, regular emails from fans who "oooh and awwwww", I've been mentioned in several documentaries, and even art groupies. I also receive regular hate-mail and threats from people who find my artwork to be somehow offensive or even blasphemous. According to many people, I am going to hell. I do not let my popularity/anti-popularity bother me however. I just find it amusing.

When I look back over the years at my work, I realize how much my work has changed, and also how much it hasn't changed. I still focus more on people, particularly women, and I am still a romantic at heart. My latest works have become more and more controversial.

As you compare different years of my work, you will see repetitive themes, such as the violin paintings. I usually do one violin painting per year. Some years there is no violin painting. Why do I make violin paintings? Because they're difficult to draw, to shade and to paint. They make excellent practice. I've gotten to the point where I can now draw and accurately shade a realistic violin from memory. Perhaps I should find something even more difficult, to give myself a challenge.

Challenges are also an aspect of my work. Some of my paintings were made partly because it was a challenge. Painting a plaid shirt for example, is a very difficult practice. Not all of my paintings are a challenge however. Some are just a compositional formula that I have worked out, and that formula is simply repeated in numerous paintings. Sometimes I tweak the formula and play with it, change it. I actually have several different That formulas that I use, off and on from time to time. These formulas have become iconic of my style.

Stylistically, I also change my style back and forth as well. Some artworks are almost photographic, while others are more abstract or stylized. It varies largely upon the theme of the piece and what particular style I think is suitable for that piece.

Not all of my art pieces are shown online. Many of them have never even been photographed. For example, my metal and wood sculptures are not shown online, because showing sculpture online really does not do the sculpture piece any justice. Many of my photographic works also are not online, as well as many paintings, numerous drawings, commissions, paintings/photographs that were made as a gift to someone, etc.

The works that are shown online tend to be the ones that are more theoretically and academic. I do make landscape paintings, but I don't show them online often. There are some examples of such art pieces, to give people a broader sense of what I do, but otherwise I simply don't bother to show such pieces online.

Advertising Criticism Triptych : 1999

Angela Tarango #1 : 1999

Angela Tarango #2 : 1999

Autostopowicz : 1999

Dyed Black Hair : 1999

Fetish: Belly Button : 1999

Fetish: Neck : 1999

Hands in Hair : 1999

Lilith Incarnation #1 : Blue Lilith : 1999

Oh So Serious / Gypsy : 1999

  • Advertising Criticism Triptych: #1 to #3 : 1999
  • Acrylic on Canvas
  • The Advertising Criticism Series is a triptych of three paintings that are meant to be shown together, in the order shown above: Tommy Hilfiger, Smirnoff, Coca-Cola. You don't see the products in the pictures, all you see is a nude female. Sex sells, plain and simple. These days advertisers don't even need the product in the picture. Just the logo and a scantily clad or even nude female. Thats the standard especially for selling perfume.

  • Angela Tarango #1 & #2 : 1999
  • Acrylic on Canvas / Acrylic on Illustration Board
  • My long time friend Angela Tarango makes an appearance in these two paintings. Ms Tarango collects hats and went to Wellesley University in Boston, where she was on the rowing team for several years. She is now studying her doctorate. #1 is the finished product, whereas #2 was the practice painting.

  • Autostopowicz : 1999
  • Acrylic on Illustration Board
  • The Polish word for hitchhiker is Autostopowicz. Simply calling this painting "female hitchhiker" would have been too boring. My love of languages (including Polish) led me to make the title in Polish rather than English. The painting itself is a practice in perspective painting, combined with the extreme challenge of painting plaid. The painting itself took only two days to paint (Saturday and Sunday) because I was painting about 10 hours each day. My arm was very sore by Monday. The painting itself is also a metaphor for higher education, the trash can with the word "Waste" on it representing a lack of education, the architecture represents education, the female represents the young willing student who is desperate to learn, the hydro poles are progress, and the highway represents time and the future. The fact that she is hitchhiking means that students need help if they are to get a good education.

  • Charcoal Back : 1999
  • Charcoal on Paper
  • A playful 5 minute sketch of a girl with a tattoo and pigtails. Nothing complicated.

    Charcoal Back : 1999

  • Dyed Black Hair : 1999
  • Acrylic on Illustration Board
  • Originally meant to be a portrait of a girl with red hair (Anne of Green Gables-ish), I painted her hair black afterwards because the red hair looked horrible. I left small bits of red still showing. Hence, her hair is now dyed black, and the painting is more of a story. For fun, I gave her green lipstick and made her into a bit of a goth.

  • Fetish: Belly Button : 1999
  • Acrylic on Illustration Board
  • Belly buttons are cute, combined with layers of purple to give the piece a Classical Greek look. It actually looks a bit like a statue. The art piece is essentially a practice in torso painting.

  • Fetish: Neck : 1999
  • Acrylic on Illustration Board
  • Like the belly button piece, this is a painting of a woman's head and neck, with the emphasis on her neck. A practice piece essentially.

  • Hands in Hair : 1999
  • Acrylic on Illustration Board
  • A tribute to Andy Warhol, but in paint instead of screenprinting. I deliberately stylized this painting in an Andy Warhol-ish style. Patrick Nagel is also an influence on my artistic style, so it has aspects of his work too.

  • Lilith Incarnation #1 : Blue Lilith : 1999
  • Acrylic on Canvas
  • Blue Lilith (or Winter Lilith) is part of a series of paintings (the bulk of which were painted in 2000), all with a single idea: The Lilith myth. In the ben-Sira version of the Bible, it isn't Adam and Eve. Its Lilith and Adam.

    According to the ben-Sira version of the Bible, male and female were made at the same time, both out of clay. But they fought and Lilith eventually left the Garden of Eden, taking some of god's power with her. God then made Eve as a replacement for Lilith. Because Lilith never ate the apple from the Tree of Forbidden Knowledge, she cannot die. She is immortal. Furthermore, because she took some of god's power, she also has incredible powers, including the power to shapechange.

    Thus the Lilith Incarnation Series is about Lilith's shapechanging ability, different versions of what she might look like, but all of them have the same intensity in their eyes. The painting itself is stylized, but looks surprisingly realistic.

  • Oh So Serious / Gypsy : 1999
  • Acrylic on Illustration Board
  • A practice in portraiture, this is a painting of a very serious looking gypsy, with a wry smile. The bandanna on her head is a repetitive theme from other bandanna paintings made in 1998.

  • Tattoo of Time : 1999
  • Acrylic on Paper
  • A playful painting of a female receiving a tattoo on her back. The tattoo itself is based on a California heiroglyph. In California, there are numerous archeological sites with heiroglyphs written on the rocks and buildings. This particular heiroglyph is the symbol for "shaman". Thus the woman is supposedly a shaman, a person in contact with the spirit-world and understands the flow of time better than mere mortals. This particular painting was sold to a collector in Toronto, Canada.

    Tattoo of Time : 1999

  • The Cleveland Medusa : 1999
  • Acrylic on Canvas
  • Cassandra Anne Vasu, an art critic from Cleveland is a past girlfriend. Art critics and artists should never date. The statue in the background is a portrait of myself wearing a kilt. The Medusa is a monster from Greek mythology who is so ugly/beautiful that she turns anyone that sees her into stone. In this case the stone corridor represents the past, and also represents a Greek labyrinth (a large maze), showing that the relationship itself was very complicated.

    The Cleveland Medusa : 1999

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