Hannah Moore first met Field Gallery director Jennifer Pillsworth officially, as artist and gallerist respectively, when the former was attending an exhibit of her father, Andrew Moore’s, work at the Granary Gallery. Hannah happened to be the subject of one of Andrew’s paintings. Now, five years later, the young artist is having a show of her own at the Field Gallery — her first professional exhibit.
“Chris [Morse, co-owner of the Granary, Field, and North Water Street Galleries] and I have been in discussions with her for a few years,” says Pillsworth. “We were waiting for the right moment when she felt that she had a complete body of work. I feel like the timing was perfect — introducing her on our 50th anniversary.”
Aside from their family ties and the fact that both are represented by Morse’s galleries, when it comes to their work, Hannah and Andrew have little in common. While the latter works in realism, capturing Vineyard scenes with remarkable accuracy, Hannah’s work has a highly stylized quality. For the current series she has depicted a variety of birds inhabiting softly dreamlike landscapes, showcasing both her skill as a draughtsman and illustrator, and a wonderfully imaginative quality.
Among her influences, Moore cites the work of Art Nouveau artists from the late 19th and early 20th century. In her artist’s statement she writes, “I take inspiration from naturalist artists like John James Audubon and the poster artists of the 19th century and the Vienna Secession. I am influenced by their mentality toward composition and the contrast of organic forms with geometric shapes, the flat hand-in-hand with the dimensional.”
Her work shows a passion for stylistic design elements combined with nature — giving her drawing and watercolor renderings a highly romantic quality. “I like to piece together different flowers and other images that I’ve been inspired by to create a sort of montage space,” says Moore. “For this series I’ve mainly been working with watercolor and ink. I really love ink drawings. I use a little quill.”
Moore developed an interest in birds at an early age. She notes that her father often worked from life studies of animals for his nature paintings. While in college, the Vineyard-raised artist spent a great deal of time studying taxidermy birds at various natural history collections.
“A lot of my work is based on pencil drawings of taxidermy,” she says. Eventually Moore’s love of nature drove her back to the Vineyard from her temporary home in Chicago, where she was primarily doing illustration commissions. She moved back to the Island last year in order to pursue painting full-time.
In her artist’s statement, Moore writes, “I attempt to capture the vibrancy of nature in somewhat dreamlike scenes with ambiguous landscapes. Painting and drawing allow me an outlet to explore the natural and urban world and the creatures that reside in it. I can create a space that combines my gained knowledge of the surrounding wildlife with a world of my own invention.”
Speaking of the timing of her first professional show, Moore says, “I had met with Chris and Jennifer to show them some of my work and talk about the possibility of having a show. At that time I didn’t have a series that had a cohesive style and subject matter yet. This is the first time that I’ve really had a whole body of work.”
Pillsworth says, “I’m glad we waited. The work is spectacular. She has a wonderful balance of very Old World and traditional with a very contemporary style.”
Although both of Moore’s parents are successful artists (her mother is ceramicist Heather Goff) she has clearly developed a style all her own, and is forging her way through her own merits. Currently the Granary Gallery is showcasing Andrew’s work, but the timing is sheerly coincidental. Says Pillsworth: “My goal is to introduce Hannah on her own. She demonstrates a level of mastery of skill that I don’t normally see in someone this young.”
Hannah Moore’s work will be up at the Field Gallery in West Tisbury through August 23, along with the work of artist Max Decker. The gallery is open daily 10 am to 5 pm, and open on Sundays from 11 am to 4 pm. View the exhibit online at fieldgallery.com.