Jeremy Moon Untitled [‘72] 1972

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Artwork details

Artist
Jeremy Moon 1934–1973
Title
Untitled [‘72]
Date 1972
Medium Acrylic paint on canvas
Dimensions Support: 2287 x 3050 x 24 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Presented by Beth Moon and Rocket Gallery 2006
Reference
T12239
Not on display

Summary

Moon’s work is characterised by compositions based on a hard-edged and rigidly geometrical, non-representational visual language and the use of unmodulated colour. In 1970, he commented: ‘the need to keep the picture completely abstract is very important to me’ (quoted in Jeremy Moon, 1976, p.7). In this work, a large, late grid painting measuring over three metres in length, Moon painted multiple black grids over a white plane. The grids are all the same dimensions and are positioned at angles to one another to create a complex, all-over arrangement with a kaleidoscopic effect.

The grid was a central motif of Moon’s late drawings and paintings and Untitled [‘72] represents the culmination of a period of intense experimentation with it. He used the grid in these works ‘not just as a structuring device but as a motif in its own right’ (Livingstone, [p.1]). In Untitled [8/71] 1971 (T12243), painted in the year before he produced T12239, the lines of the grid traverse the entire canvas with horizontal yellow stripes imposed over vertical black ones. While both T12239 and T12243 demonstrate the artist’s practice of using crossing lines to suggest surface and spatial illusion, the spatial complexity of T12239 rests on the manner in which the grid has been fragmented into an array of square details that abut one another. In this work, the dense placing of the grids creates a sense of movement and instability. Writing about Untitled [‘72] in 2001, Marco Livingstone explained: ‘The impression given is of a single large grid having been cut into numerous blocks and then reassembled, randomly collaged together to convey a sense of rotating movement and a shifting in and out of space.’ (Livingstone, [p.5].) Moon rarely titled his later paintings beyond recording the dates he produced them, suggesting that he did not want to distract attention from his principal concern with formal problems and with abstraction.

Moon was one of a generation of British abstract painters that emerged in the early 1960s. In 1962 he was included in the Young Contemporaries exhibition at the Royal Society of British Artists Galleries, London. By the early 1970s Moon had established a reputation in Britain and was beginning to become known internationally. He died in a motorcycle accident in 1973.

Further reading:
Jeremy Moon: Paintings and Drawings 1962–1973, Serpentine Gallery, London 1976.
Marco Livingstone, ‘Moon-Gazing: Watching Paintings Unfold’, in Jeremy Moon – A Retrospective, exhibition catalogue, Arts Council, London 2001, reproduced [p.23].
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.

Alice Sanger
July 2009

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