The William Ris Gallery is proud to present Illuminations: Max Moran a solo exhibition featuring plain air paintings inspired by North Fork cloudscapes, on view from September 15 through October 14, 2018.
Born and raised in Ohio, Moran’s career has spanned over forty years starting as a teenager commissioned to paint portraits. With stays in Paris, Ireland, Mexico and California, his paintings ranged from portraits to landscapes to urban life, before heeding the call to the East Coast and eventually opening his studio in Manhattan’s East Village in the ‘90s. Nearly a decade later, after a visit to Greenport, Long Island, Moran moved to the North Fork in 2000 to open a studio near Martha Clara’s Vineyards where he often exhibited his works. When asked what prompted the move, Moran explains, “I’d developed relationships in the North Fork and also realized that it had the same inspiring ingredients like Cape Cod that didn’t entail having to travel the whole day to get out there.” Today, Moran’s landscapes of the North Fork are some of the most notable plein air works depicting both a tradition in art as well as the beauty of its subject. “North Fork landscapes have a certain atmosphere, a visual narrative that nourishes the soul,” muses Moran. “I think we all have the ability to see and appreciate landscape artwork not just because it’s recognizable as a particular landmark that’s familiar, but I think it triggers a sense of celebration for our existence. It’s ageless.”
Illuminations marks Moran’s 16th solo exhibition on the North Fork. In this new series of cloudscape paintings, Moran explores the concept of cloud stacking, an amalgamation of cloud movements and formations at four different times of the day. “As a kid, I always had my nose up against the window looking out at the clouds. I’m tapping back into that nostalgia, and still have the same feeling and awe.” It takes a special artist to look beyond the ordinary to find a spark of joy of that moment, a unique capture of the subtleness that is nature and life, and to express it onto canvas. “It’s visual opera,” Moran says of the clouds. That visual opera is also his paintings.