26 January 2011

Brooke Moyse


Can you briefly describe what you do?

I make abstract oil paintings that could be landscapes.

What drives you to make work?

I have to solve an unsolvable problem.

Can you tell me something of your day-to-day working practices?

I work full time, so my studio hours are relegated to a few nights per week and full days on the weekends. I work best with long stretches of time in which to get situated, be excited, be bored, and then to just work and forget where I am. I have a lot of painting books in my studio, which I refer to regularly. I know a lot of artists never look at other artists work, but I need to. Not only is it fun, but it keeps me feeling like I’m contributing to the very long conversation. I often use drawing as a way to enter painting. I don’t really do full sketches of potential works (I find that doing so actually closes the painting off for me), but use it more as an exploratory tool to examine a particular aspect of an image, or to take a deeper look at something that has been ruminating in my head for a while. For the past several years my drawing has just been in notebooks, but I have been trying to expand beyond the notebook, and to think about drawing as a more substantial counterpoint to the paintings.

How long have you been working in that way?
I have always been pretty structured in my studio practice, but have been working in this particular way since finishing graduate school almost 5 years ago.

Which artists have had the greatest affect on your work?

The first artist who really gave me an actual understanding of what art meant, was Piet Mondrian. The Museum of Modern Art had a major retrospective of his work while I was in high school, and had just starting digging into art. I think that because it was the first big “ah ha” moment, Mondrian’s work is very personal to me, and holds a place within me that I need to keep protected. Another major influence was Philip Guston, who I discovered as an undergraduate. His work is complicated, rebellious and immediately personal, which is kind of a dazzling combination. I think that what I finally took away from Guston is the urgency.

What, outside visual art, informs your practice?

Film, literature and music. The films of Jean-Luc Godard have had a big influence. I am interested in the way that his films are so sculptural and painterly, with an interesting tension between spontaneity and extremely deliberate structure. I am always surprised by the way that color and sound combine and combust in his work, and I think that this has influenced my understanding of collage in my own work. I read a lot of fiction, and recently began with Haruki Murakami, whose fibrous tales have been sneaking into my work. I have an interest in words, and love novels in which there is a sense of the spaces between the words.

How would you like people to engage with your work?

My work takes time, and I feel like a piece is successful when it keeps bringing the viewer back, and giving them a different experience/story each time.

Have you seen anything recently that has made an impression?

I keep thinking about a painting I recently saw at White Columns gallery by Gregory Edwards. I haven’t seen his work any place else, but I can’t get it out of my head. I was also very impressed with the Chaos and Classicism show at the Guggenheim, which was a very scholarly and non-commercial exhibition. A nice refresher from so many of the museum shows.

Do you have anything exciting on the horizon?

I will be in a show at Storefront Gallery in Bushwick, Brooklyn in October 2011.


  1. Another brilliant response to these questions. I like the way Moyse talks about looking at the work of others.

    Thanks SI/FP

  2. nice interview enjoyable reading and great paintings