While sorting through older work, Jennifer Moses saved paintings specifically from a point when her work was in transition from figurative to more abstract. Now having begun to assert the figure back into her work, these paintings became the perfect backbone for her current series in Ghost not Ghost, now on view at Kingston Gallery along with a collection of collages and a few paintings on yupo paper.
The title Ghost not Ghost stems from a few places and Moses breaks up the origins into two categories: “Ghost” comes from the up-cycling of “paintings past” as she puts it, the character of the ghost that pops up here and there throughout the show, and more solemnly, the accumulation of deaths that have occurred around her recently. While “not Ghost” relates to the rebirth of her work through repurposing and the sense that those departed live on through our rumination of them.
This duality in Moses’ paintings between humor and tragedy is fueled by her interest in pre-Renaissance panel paintings; images that simultaneously portray violence and beauty but with almost animated and goofy-looking figures. She says her use of comic-like characters is also inspired by those images as well as the works of artists such as Robert Colescott and Philip Guston who used comics as references for their paintings.
Collage is a slightly newer medium for Moses. She began making them in 2014 during a residency in New Mexico. Surrounded by an expansive, southwestern sky, she says the idea of using the confines of a rectangle to display imagery felt bizarre. Collage feels “completely liberating” she mentions, because the technical issues of oil painting don’t exist and elements can be moved around easily.