Peter Moore

Peter Moore is best known for his “writing exercises” or manuscripts which take the form of dense palimpsests composed of overlapping layers of multi-coloured text. Born in 1938 in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK, Moore studied at Newcastle Art School 1955-1957 under Richard Hamilton and Victor Pasmore and The Slade School of Fine Art, London 1958-1962. Adopting an ambiguous relationship to the art world, he abandoned painting for a period after art school and worked for an airline and later in the animation industry. Over six-decades his practice has consistently responded to the elitism of “high art”, drawing from the mundanities of everyday life, toilet block graffiti, Eastern philosophies, as well as mediaeval manuscripts, ancient Persian scripts, and the British Arts and Crafts movement.

 

Moore’s interest in writing and calligraphy began in his early teens when he attempted to copy pages from the ancient Lindisfarne Gospels in the British Library. He began incorporating text into his paintings in 1989, discarding images entirely in the early 2000s. These paintings were often begun in diary form or from an individual phrase which was developed into lettering incorporating English and Latin text. Usually focusing on a single subject, these texts included myriad references, from ancient literature to meditations on the gold price, and incorporated both mundane and significant personal life events. At this time his work made reference to the Roman poets Catullus, Martial and Juvenal, through whom he established parallels between the present day and the politics, commerce and everyday life of the Roman Empire. 

 

In 2005, Moore began working in a way more akin to automatic writing than painting. Incorporating the unfiltered minutiae of his daily life, his recent work stems from the notion “First thought, best thought” a phrase appearing in almost every work of the last fifteen years, which Moore borrows from his former teacher, the Tibetan abbott, scholar, poet and artist, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche (1939-1987). In these works, thoughts such as “I forgot to get the milk”, “I have run out of sugar”, “My foot hurts” are carefully inscribed using watercolour pens to trace the outline of each letter before infilling with acrylic Posca. In this way, each work, and its content becomes, in Moore’s own words, ‘no big deal', allowing for the possibility of a common connection with the viewer. 

 

Overlaid with multiple layers of hand-written text, each work becomes a dense palimpsest, full with meaning but simultaneously meaningless. Returning to single works years or sometimes decades later, Moore organises time within these complex layers using a colour-coded system to separate the present from the past. The results are vividly colourful images which can be viewed either as dazzling abstract images or diligently read. Whilst they may be partly deciphered, Moore’s paintings function on their overall impression of intricate, multi-layered and intimately entwined relationships.

 

Peter Moore's work is included in numerous important private and corporate collections including, Professor John Ball, Ralph Larsen, Sir Nicholas Goodison, Pernille Ashstrom, Nick Martin-Smith, Nick Pickering and Jilly Cholmondeley, Professor Colin Cruise, Sarah and Herman Rothburger, the Andreyev family, John Macarthur and the Trustee Savings Bank Collection, London. His work has been presented in solo exhibitions throughout the UK, including;  RA Summer Exhibition (2010); Prelude Art Fair, London (2008); Calligraffiti: Paintings by Peter Moore, Fleurs Du Mal, London (1999); Michael Parkin Gallery, London (1998); The Writing on the Wall, Leighton House Museum and Galleries, London (1995).

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