When Andrew Moore opened his show, “Through the Seasons,” on July 30, he was only one of three artists featured in the Moore Family Gallery. His 27-year-old daughter Hannah Moore has just concluded her exhibit, “Reverie,” which ran from Saturday, July 2 to Wednesday, July 27, and she plans another show at the gallery in two years. Andrew’s 25-year-old son Gordon Moore will put his ceramics in “Exploring Porcelain” on display in the gallery next summer.
This is the second year for the Moore Family Gallery. “It seemed like such a natural way to go,” Andrew said in a recent interview. He feels his two children have rejuvenated the gallery after he ran it for 20 years. “We all painted the inside,” he says. The three used 30 gallons of white paint, transforming what had been the Andrew Moore Gallery — both physically and emotionally. “It’s all of ours now,” Andrew says. He also finds his two children have brought in a lot from the tech world. “Everything became more efficient,” he says. He’s found it provided so much new energy watching them develop individually as artists.
The family tradition dates back longer than for these three. Andrew’s great-great-grandfather was a Hudson River School painter, and his late mother an art teacher and painter, his father, an architect. His brother Alley Moore is the art director for MV Magazine, and his sister Nina Howell is a kitchen designer for Vineyard Home Center in Vineyard Haven. “There’s a lot of energy. It’s kind of the family vocation,” Andrew says. The gallery will remain open all year, by appointment in the off-season.
“Coming to the Vineyard was a big adventure for me,” Andrew says. “For them it’s the opposite. Who knows what direction they’ll go in.”
He describes himself as a very realistic painter. He doesn’t reproduce an exact moment in his paintings but creates a new moment in oil, egg tempera, or watercolor. His painting “In the Flow” offers an example of what he’s talking about. In those paintings with a human element like “Hannah,” he creates a blend of the concrete world with the distillation of memories. “The people are part of everything,” he says. “They are within the world they work in.” The portrait in “Hannah” includes the trees and daffodils planted when she was a little girl. “The painting is a study of her world, which is contemplative,” he says.
In discussing his landscapes, Andrew says, “Having painted the Vineyard for over 40 years, it’s still an investigation of this place.” Many of his oil paintings, like “Flurry,” take a year or more to produce. “It’s a lot of learning about where we live.” After his show comes down on August 30, he’ll go to Tenants Harbor, Maine, near Penobscot Bay. He used to visit his mother, who lived there but died four years ago. Now it’s with Hannah and Gordon.
At 18 he was a dishwasher at the Black Dog Tavern and cleaned fish with Jack Livingston. He was painting a watercolor of a bluefish school on the dining room table after work. His grandmother came by with a friend who wanted to buy it. “That was the beginning of the end of my dishwashing career,” he said, and he began exhibiting at the Old Sculpin Gallery in Edgartown. Andrew attended the University of Virginia School of Architecture, but the lure of painting was what beckoned him. Growing up in the Boston area, he moved to the Vineyard in 1985. After the Old Sculpin Gallery, he exhibited in the Field Gallery. Shows at the Granary followed. His painting combines his interest in design, something he investigated in college. “There are certain designs in everything,” he says.
Hannah followed in the path of her parents. She started college at Syracuse University, then transferred to Rhode Island School of Design. “Most of my work is nature-based,” she says. She paints with oils, does watercolors and pen-and-ink drawings of birds, as well as the plant life around them. “The birds are the focal point,” she adds, as with “After the Rain.” When she exhibited at the Field Gallery in West Tisbury last year, most of her work sold out.
Her brother Gordon has moved to Williamsburg in Brooklyn, N.Y. “We still want to keep his work in the gallery,” she says. Hannah observes that his work is influenced by Martha’s Vineyard, and she points out the fish and birds displayed on the surface of his ceramic pieces. In her own work, she likes to investigate the natural history of plants. “I love to learn about lots of plants,” she says, also using field guides for research.
When her father’s show comes down, she says, “In September, we’ll combine the work that’s left and have a group show for the rest of the year.”
Andrew Moore, “Through the Seasons,” Moore Family Gallery, Harthaven, Oak Bluffs, through August 31. For more information, visit moorefamilygallery.com.