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Charles Alexander Moffat Retrospective 2003

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Julie #1 : 2003

Land of Morning Peace #001 : 2003

Land of Morning Peace #002 : 2003

Land of Morning Peace #003 : 2003

Land of Morning Peace #004 : 2003

Land of Morning Peace #005 : 2003

Land of Morning Peace #007 : 2003

Land of Morning Peace #008 : 2003

Land of Morning Peace #009 : 2003

Land of Morning Peace #014 : 2003

Land of Morning Peace #016 : 2003

Land of Morning Peace #017 : 2003

Oil, Blood and Cleavage : 2003

Oil Truck : 2003

Pacifist : 2003

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. 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.

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.

  • Julie #1 : 2003
  • Acrylic on Canvas
  • My friend Julie poses here with the Toronto skyline in the background. Her choice in fashion is put on display here: Black hat, black shirt with stripes, striped tie and matching bracelets. In the painting she appears thoughtful and yet quirky, and thus is an excellent choice to represent the Lilith Gallery. This painting was deliberately made as the new "logo" for the Lilith Gallery and was the front index page's main graphic for 2003, 2004 and 2005. In 2006 there will be a new graphic.

  • Land of Morning Peace #001 - #018 : 2003
  • 35mm black and white film
  • During my sojourn in South Korea I took many photographs, some as a tourist, and some as an artist. Korea is known as the "Land of Morning Calm", a strange name because the land is a state of constant cold war. North and South Korea battles prejudice and hatred between its northern and southern kin. Many Koreans want reunification but there are also many people who fear the "other side", have been raised to fear and hate the enemy, and claim reunification is "too expensive". People who claim its too expensive however are just afraid. They use the "too expensive" idea as an excuse to delay reunification. Historically, when East and West Germany were reunified it was a very costly process. Within a short time however, the combined country bounced back from recession and has since become one of the strongest economies in the world. North and South Korea have a shared history and a shared identity, and despite 50 years of conflict, they still maintain that history. Thus this photographic series is a look at the shared history of Korea and its heritage. In the photographs I tried to emphasize the separation between the two Koreas, and make it a peaceful separation. Water vs land, trees cutting the composition in half, staircases and walls acting like boundaries. My personal favourite is two trees leaning in opposite directions (#014).

  • Oil, Blood and Cleavage : 2003
  • Oil on Canvas
  • I paint with oil very rarely, and in this example I made deliberate reference to the material both in the theme, and in the title. The black and red "chessboard" in the background represent war, with blood and oil, and confusion (the chessboard is deliberately flawed), and Naomi's cleavage accentuates the peace symbol on her necklace. Thus this painting is about war, specifically war in the pursuit of oil.

  • Oil Truck : 2003
  • Acrylic on Canvas
  • I got this idea from watching a television show. It was not the news, but a talkshow in which one of the troops in Iraq was saying hello to his family back home and thanking the host of the talkshow. When the talkshow host asked what he was doing today, the soldier pointed to a comouflaged oil truck behind him and said matter-of-factly: "We're transporting oil to be sent back home." Thus it hammered home the point, the true meaning of the war in Iraq: To bring oil back home to the United States. Why? Because our economy would collapse without it. Thus it seemed only natural to me that I should record and remember this event. How often do we see US soldiers stealing oil in camouflaged trucks. We wouldn't see it on a regular news television show like CNN (which is government censored), but we do see it on a talkshow.

  • Pacifist : 2003
  • Acrylic on Canvas
  • Peace-symbol sunglasses, round ones like the glasses John Lennon wore. As you already have gathered from the above topics 2003 was a year in which I stressed the issue of peace in my artwork. Both in Korea and in the middle-east.

  • Protestor : 2003
  • Acrylic on Canvas
  • The off-white background contrasts with the dark visage and camouflaged shirt of the girl in this picture. Her face is muddy and she looks almost sick, but her eyes are intense and intelligent. The background was a theoretical issue for me, because white is a difficult background to use and make it look compositional correct. I wanted to prove that white could be used as a background and that it could be just as effective as any other background.

    Protestor : 2003

  • Salmacis in the Rain : 2003
  • Acrylic on Canvas
  • In this painting I go back to an earlier ideas from 2001 and 2002. The Hermaphroditus/Salmacis Series from 2001, and also the "hidden penis" idea from 2002. Bald women has been a regular theme in my work, and thus "Salmacis in the Rain" is a combination of many different ideas brought together. Stylistically, the rain is a new style of my painting that I created in 2003. See more of this style below.

    Salmacis in the Rain : 2003

  • Untitled #3 : 2003
  • Acrylic on Canvas
  • Hidden in this "Jackson-Pollock-ish" abstraction is two penises and a vagina, in extreme close-up of a male-male-female threesome. Thus I manage to combine ideas of group sex, homosexuality, homophobia, the "hidden penis" idea, the "Salmacis in the Rain" style, and even interracial sex. I am deliberately provoking the viewer with an obscene image hidden behind "juicy" layers of paint.

    Untitled #3 : 2003

  • Violinist #2 : 2003
  • Acrylic on Canvas
  • An African woman carrying a violin, with a symbolic splash of paint in the background. Violin paintings are a tradition for me, and in this painting I wanted to be more playful and experiment with the Salmacis style from above.

    Violinist #2 : 2003

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