Carrie Moyer’s history of social activism informs her approach to painting, which marries the graphic flatness of her earlier agitprop posters with the more sensual material qualities of the medium. Her playful compositions, layered surfaces, and fluid forms–freely oscillating between abstraction and representation–speak not only to her commitment to feminist political theory, but also to her deep investment in art history.
Expanding on processes common to Color Field painters, her practice involves drawing, pouring, staining, rolling, sprinkling, and mopping. Each canvas begins with a series of collages where the artist refines the structure of her configurations. At the same time, Moyer also employs strategies and techniques found in graphic design. Achieving multidimensional effects through gradation, transparency, and shadows, Moyer builds her images layer-by-layer, using thin veils of aqueous color, mirrored images, and outlined biomorphic forms. Her techniques obfuscate her paintings’ making to forward an unfettered, sensorial approach to looking—one divorced from the technical mechanics of construction. Further emphasizing the sensorial, since 1999, Moyer has incorporated glitter into her work. For the artist, glitter injects the “material language of queerness” into her compositions. “For me, glitter signified disco and gay icons such as Sylvester,” she explains. “… [Glitter represented] this other part of my life that seemingly didn’t jive with the seriousness of a painting practice.” Decades later, glitter has become a signature element in her paintings that, per Moyer, “draws a different kind of light to the canvas.” Ultimately, Moyer’s vibrant paintings critically interrogate the formal and conceptual conventions of painting while embracing an approach to abstraction rooted in optical pleasure and queer and feminist ideologies.