Fledgling authors are often taught that perfectionism–not error–is the enemy of great writing; only through fearless means can they arrive at a noteworthy final draft. Transpose this concept to painting, and it’s clear why many artists find inspiration in Santi Moix. He’s one of those rare people in mid-career for whom risk–along with an intense love of process–is the better part of rigor.
Nowhere was this clearer than in the whopping 54 canvases included in Moix’s solo show. Most bore the artist’s signature formal elements: cerulean blue skies, clay-toned masses of land and an autographic, often amusing, array of biomorphic forms. True, Moix has worked within this vocabulary for a decade. Yet he restlessly searches for surprising ways to make every element–be it airy void or solid mass–feel freshly carved out, though in paint.
Moix delights in subverting our expectations of just where the weight should lie in a given composition. In The Medical Student (2004), for instance, he gives us a blue and white sky that, though light in hue, heavily descends from the top of the canvas in thick, ribbonlike swaths. Below, an essentially hollowed out orange and green earth plays as a foil, built up of a nervous network of thin horizontal and vertical bands (viewed as if in cut-away). We can never get too comfortable in this topsy-turvy construct: enter, stage right, a silhouetted figure on horseback, as tiny as a scholar in a Chinese landscape. Even as he boldly pierces that seemingly impenetrable sky, he looks ill-prepared for the precarious terrain on which he rests. (read more)