5 June - 25 July 2009
Jonathan Stephenson/Rocket presents an exhibition of paintings and drawings made between 1970 and 1973 by the late Jeremy Moon (British, 1934-1973). These paintings are the ‘mature’work of Jeremy Moon whose career was cut tragically short by a motorcycle accident in November 1973. All of these paintings have remained in Moon’s garden studio in Kingston-upon-Thames since his death. Moon’s 1970s paintings show an interest in formal geometric concerns, but simultaneously achieve a wit and playfulness that gives this body of work an astonishing contemporary quality. The paintings from this intense four-year period possess tremendous variety within the restrained parameters that Moon had set himself. The drawings exhibited are all sketches of ideas for paintings and those from 1973 give us a hint of the ‘shaped’ canvases that Moon might have worked on had he lived. This is the third Jeremy Moon exhibition exhibition at Rocket and follows on from Jeremy Moon: drawings & collages (2005) and Jeremy Moon: 1969 grid paintings (2006). In 2006 the Tate Gallery, London purchased five paintings and 14 drawings by Jeremy Moon which were exhibited the following year at Tate Britain.
Rocket exclusively represents the Estate of Jeremy Moon.
about Jeremy Moon
Jeremy Moon (UK, 1934-1973) grew up in Altrincham, Cheshire and went to Cambridge to study law. After graduating he worked as an advertising executive while simultaneously painting in his spare time and attending evening classes in ballet. His paintings came to the attention of Alex Gregory- Hood of the then recently founded Rowan Gallery and he had his first solo exhibition at the gallery in 1963. Moon had regular solo shows at Rowan Gallery for the next ten years.
During Moon’s lifetime his work was included in major surveys of British painting including London: The New Scene at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis in 1965; and Marks on a canvas, Museum am Ostwall, Dortmund, Germany in 1969. His work is in the permanent collections of international institutions including: Albright Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, USA; Arts Council of Great Britain; Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, Australia; Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh; Tate Gallery, London;Walker Art Center, Minneapolis.
In addition to the regular London solo shows at the Rowan Gallery, Moon also had a solo show at Galerie Müller, Stuttgart in 1967, which left a lasting legacy of interest in his work in Germany. After Moon’s death the Serpentine Gallery, London organised a comprehensive retrospective in 1976. More recently, in 2001, a small retrospective funded by the Arts Council, was presented at the Harris Museum and Art Gallery, Preston; The Nunnery, London; Graves Art Gallery, Sheffield; & Kettle’s Yard Gallery, Cambridge.
In 2005, The British Museum purchased a group of drawings; The RISD Museum, Providence, USA acquired a 1971 collage; and the DaimlerChrysler Collection purchased three paintings which they exhibited in Minimalism & After IV at their gallery in Berlin. In 2006 the British Council purchased a painting from the Rocket show of grid paintings; and the Tate Gallery, London purchased five paintings and 14 drawings from Rocket and exhibited them the following year at Tate Britain. In 2008 Southampton City Art Gallery acquired a 1969 painting for its permanent collection.
//////He’s from the hot phase, and yet he’s an oddity within that hot moment, and his time seems to be now really, rather than then – so he’s a double oddity.What is it he expresses? A tiny point of content that is a product of a combination of elements: the cultural background of the paintings; the mind of the artist; and his skills and experience. His paintings express the times in which they were made, what Jackson Pollock called ‘the aims of the age’. If a work with a bit of light orange and light purple is only about proportion and shape, and degrees of finish, and relationships of cloudy to acid or bright to dim, well, there’s something liberating in the effect of those few elements. Your mind feels free. I appreciate the way narrowness in art can produce intensity, the way narrowness can be connected to generosity. You could write down on a very small piece of paper what he does with colour intensities, it’s so simple – some colours of the same tonality will sort of ‘ping’ against each other. Once you register that ‘ping’ you start to see how other rectangles and other bands have their own colour identity too, and how in fact everything set down before you is doing something in relation to something else. That’s it. This is what we mean by colour being structured.////// Matthew Collings 2006 catalogue text