Drawing [25/5/73] is one of a group of fourteen works in pencil and oil pastel in Tate’s collection (T12222–T12235) by the abstract artist Jeremy Moon. In this drawing, a large and centrally-placed pink square dominates the composition. The square appears to be imposed in front of several other coloured squares, the edges of which are visible behind it. The drawing is signed.
Drawings formed a very significant part of Moon’s output and Tate’s examples, produced between 1967 and 1973, date from the latter part of the artist’s short career. Moon was one of a generation of British abstract painters that emerged in the early 1960s and included Robyn Denny (born 1930) and John Hoyland (born 1934). Their work, which owed much to American Hard-Edge and Colour Field painting, was large scale, colourful and rigorously non representational. The blocks, grids and stripes that characterise T12222–T12235 also occur in the works on canvas, such as Untitled [9/68] 1968 (T12242). In T12233, the artist appears to be moving away from the grids and stripes that occur in most of the drawings T12222–T12235. Instead, this image suggests the new compositional concerns to which Moon turned his attention in his last works, including Untitled No. 12, 1973 (reproduced in Jeremy Moon – A Retrospective, [p.24]), a shaped canvas in which four squares appear to be painted one in front of the other.
While Moon’s paintings are characterised by their sharp lines and strict geometry, the lines in the drawings are softened by the use of pastels. Writing in 1976, artist Barry Martin commented:
Against the needle-sharp concentration [Moon’s] paintings appeared to have required, his small, freely executed pastel drawings come as something of a shock. These exquisite works are diametrically different from the paintings. Different because the small sketches served the purpose of extending the artist’s visualization of painting ... Broadly placed, the marks are often overlaid by others of another hue giving the shapes and lines a broken, rugged appearance and allowing colours to ‘bleed’ one to another.
Some of the works in this group of drawings have only recently been rediscovered. They were filed by Moon in his studio, and then remained undisturbed there for some thirty years following his death in a motorcycle accident in 1973.
Barry Martin, ‘Jeremy Moon Retrospective’, Studio International, vol.191, no.981, May/June 1976, pp.300–1.
Jeremy Moon – A Retrospective, exhibition catalogue, Arts Council, London 2001.
Janet MacKenzie, ‘Mr Jeremy Moon Experiments. Jeremy Moon: Drawings and Collage,’ Studio International, May 2005, http://www.studio-international.co.uk/search/index.asp
, accessed 30 July 2009.