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Interview with artist Rebecca Moy

"Bound", acrylic on canvas, 44" x 60"
Artist Rebecca Moy is currently showing a series of abstract paintings at Gallery 180 in Chicago in which open, flat areas of colour, a profusion of hard-edged shapes, and all kinds of drawn marks and textures are layered to produce an optically spectacular experience. The exhibition of her work continues at Gallery 180, at the Illinois Institute of Art, Chicago, through January 2011.

Philip: How long have you been painting, and what led you to your life in the studio?

Rebecca: In some ways, I’ve been painting ever since I can remember. My mother would say that I took ‘Lite-Brites’ to a whole new level. I’ve been painting professionally for four years, but of course there’s this thing called life that happens while we’re living it and the dots are in multiples and take some time to connect. Once I decided to embrace painting fully, I’ve been free.

Philip: Your paintings are bursting with contrasting colours, flat areas and lots of finely delineated small shapes. How would you describe your process?

Rebecca: My process is a complete science. My subjects are a bit more curious. Everywhere I go, and everything I do, I am constantly painting in my head. There are the shapes and spaces between things, anything—and somehow they define my visual reality. I layer these ideas in real time as I transfer them from pigment to canvas. In general my works are abstract, but specifically my work aims to trigger memory of time, place and meaning, the emotionality of being, and its various masks.

Back to the science of my work. I love color. As acrylic paint bears no forgiveness, I have to plot the piece out in my mind so that fifty layers later--after methodically layering color over color, line over line, continually going back and forth--the background syncs with the foreground and completes the piece. I had to learn to control the viscosities and opacities of every color and its relationship with the colors behind and ahead of it, in relation to every compilation surrounding it, sometimes from six feet away.
"Against the Grain", acrylic on canvas, 44" x 60"
Philip: Technical question: are there any specific kinds of paint, brushes, medium that you use to achieve your effects?

Rebecca: I’m a huge fan of Golden Acrylic Paints. I use cheap studio brushes because I quickly learned that the most expensive brushes don’t hold a fine line for any longer period of time.

Philip: Who is your ideal viewer? What do you want them to take away from your paintings?

Rebecca: My ideal viewer is everyone, perhaps no one. I want them to become mesmerized, to become lost in my lands of color and line. I want them to have an opportunity to experience a piece of themselves from my paintings, suddenly remembering something that makes them feel something that’s been with them for so long. I believe that my lines and colors are the structure and definition of who we are all becoming, one layer at a time.

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