Wild Trac (1975)
Gifted by Richard C. Smith and Patricia Frobes
Wild Trac is a painting from Ed Moses’ Trac series. The artist applied drips, smudges, and diagonal lines (or “tracs”) of red, black, and white paint in a crisscross fashion generating a tension between the flat surface of the picture plane and its illusionistic depth. Similar to some of his resin works (see Untitled, 1971), Moses’ geometric compositions were often inspired by Navajo blanket designs.
Ed Moses (1926 – 2018)
Ed Moses was born in Long Beach, CA and lived and worked most of his life in Southern California. In 1957, while a graduate student at UCLA, Moses had his first solo exhibition at Ferus Gallery where he became a member of the Cool School. Cool School artists—including John Altoon, Larry Bell, Billy Al Bengston, Wallace Berman, Robert Irwin, Craig Kauffman, Edward Kienholz, Ken Price, and Ed Ruscha—combined pop, abstraction, and minimalism, often imbued with sarcasm and humor. Throughout his life, Moses explored the limits of painting, experimenting with many styles, materials, and mark-making techniques. He embraced elements of chance and focused on process over product.
“In a career that spanned seven decades, Moses received national and international recognition for his practice, known for its restless intensity and ever-evolving style. Considered one of LA’s most innovative painters and a central figure in the city’s art scene, Moses often referred to himself as a ‘mutator’, driven less by the desire for self-expression than by an insatiable curiosity to explore and discover. Describing his approach, Moses said, ‘The rational mind constantly wants to be in charge. The other parts want to fly. My painting is the encounter between the mind’s necessity for control and its yearning to fly, to be free from our ever-confining skull’ (kohngallery.com/moses).”
From 1968 to 1972 Moses was on faculty in the art department at UC Irvine and the subject of the 2014 exhibition Ed Moses: Cross Section organized by Juli Carson and Kevin Appel and presented at UCI’s University Art Galleries. The artist’s work is also included in the collections of the Hammer Museum (UCLA, Los Angeles); Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; The Museum of Modern Art (NY), and Whitney Museum of American Art (NY).
Year acquired: 2020