Artist Francisco Moreno has made a name for himself in the Dallas arts scene with popular projects such as Painting Debt and WDC Project. A Texas based artist represented by Erin Cluley Gallery, Moreno’s work has been celebrated nationally in various galleries in New York, Vermont, Texas, and Puerto Rico, and he has recently received the Dallas Museum of Art’s Anne Kimbrough Artist Award, which he used to fulfill the production and execution of the WDC Project. Moreno studied and received his BFA at University of Texas in Arlington and continued his education at the Rhode Island School of Design where he received his MFA with a concentration in painting.
On September 19th, Moreno will present a new series of works titled SLATES in his first solo show with Erin Cluley Gallery. The goal of these works is to examine multiplicity, materiality, creativity, change, and exploration. SLATES is a collection of 14 series of works, totaling over 70 works in all. Though overwhelming in number, the works are anything but when presented in the space. Like words on a page, each piece relies on the other to communicate within the same plane. Each work is dimensionally identical and embraces the multiplicity of form, measuring 36 by 48 inches with 5.5-inch radius curved corners. This allows viewers to examine the works as told in one cohesive formality.
To conceptualize 70 works in one show seems daunting, even to an artist. In a conversation with Moreno, we discussed the relationship his works have with each other and how his use of repetition has made such a large exhibition still appear transparent.
I think of this show as a book that has these stories – you enjoy reading each one. Each of my works was made with undivided attention and could stand on its own. But what’s really important about this exhibition is the context of the works and the idea of the system. You’re seeing a fraction of what could be, much like a collection of short stories.
I walked into Erin Cluley Gallery with a great sense of exploration. Like the repetition of words in a short story, I experienced a repetition of material and form. The works tell the story of their process through their flattering presentation of material. As I continue my experience, each work commands my attention with a unique method of artistic language and creativity that inspires an opportunity of communication. I take each work and each series as part of a whole, but desire to get to know them individually. I then begin to understand each piece’s unique personality that led to their creation and final presentation in the space. I guarantee, anyone willing to open themselves up to conversation will walk away with a favorite piece that is outstanding from their experience.
Part of Moreno’s excellence is his ability to resurrect materials that are often overlooked by the basic eye and give them a new opportunity for narrative. He doesn’t allow himself to be limited by material – a struggle he sees that is relevant of being an artist today. I encourage viewers to examine every aspect of the works from the paints, to the wood, and even the small materials you’ll see collected on the plane of the slates, strung together with a specific medium.
This collection of work challenges ordinary media to take an extraordinary form. Moreno creates abstract relationships between familiar material to inspire communication with audiences using the context of the exhibition. His unique artistic language gives meaning to these naturally found shapes and objects, which then commands our attention when we see these objects outside of the curated setting of Erin Cluley Gallery. Many of these materials from the collection make references to Moreno’s artistic past. If you remember the ongoing project Painting Debt, a collection of works by Moreno that humorously commented on art school debt, you’ll find a very recognizable shape in this exhibition – the slate. When I visited Moreno in his studio in Dallas, I was able to see the process of creation and examine how the repeated shapes of the plain used in Painting Debt were reflected in the works now featured in SLATES on a much larger scale. Much like an “I Spy” game, your eye is challenged to recognize these familiar materials in a new context. As you wonder the exhibition, you will find media such as enamel paint that was used in his WDC Project, used paint pallets, a 2007 canvas stretcher, a dog collar and crate from his handsome pup Puck, and a specific series of works titled “Remnants,” which I believe speaks for itself. Moreno stated that all of these works in the exhibition are rooted in something that was planted some time ago, whether it was a past project or something that had remained a part of the studio. However, their significance comes from their recent creation taking place within this past year.
What makes this exhibition special is its ability to communicate with itself and with its viewers. With so many works on view, its easy for us to see the relationship each one has with another. However, all works have the ability to stand on their own outside of the exhibition. I asked Moreno how he thinks the work will be viewed once they are removed from his original context. He believes each one has the ability to hold its own in a room — and I enthusiastically agree. These works are the result of the artist’s undivided love and attention expressed through experimenting with material and curation that allows each one the opportunity to be its own unique creation. However, based on their identical formal qualities they will all maintain the unique relationship with the whole collection.
FRANCISCO MORENO: SLATES
ON VIEW AT ERIN CLULEY GALLERY SEPTEMBER 19 – OCTOBER 17, 2015
OPENING RECEPTION: SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 19, 6:00-8:00PM
For more information about individual works contact Erin Cluley.
All photos of work are by Kevin Todora.
Francisco Moreno on instagram @morencisco
Erin Cluley Gallery on instagram @erincluleygallery
Last modified: September 14, 2015