The Bad Air series consists of nine large charcoal drawings and is a continuation of the triptych, Big Girls. Just like Big Girls, each piece portrays a female figure and the contrast of marks and black charcoal on a field of white paper add a dramatic distinction between the body and the space that surrounds each woman. The indeterminacy of place suggests confinement and isolation.
These nine large women show the effects of negative space with their facial expressions and their awkward posture. They are isolated, quarantined and frustrated. My body, again, was used as a model for this work. However, for these drawings, I availed myself as surrogate, stand-in and muse. These women are the exploration of annoyance, restlessness and frustration. These women were created during the time of Covid, Oregon WildFires and political turmoil. This work was made for the Coos Art Museum, specifically for the Vaughn Gallery. I enjoy creating site specific work. The space in which my work dwells is part of the process. Location is an important part of my research. I visited the museum, the City of Coos Bay and Sunset Beach. I modeled on the beach, in the ocean and the surrounding areas. I was exhausted when I arrived and at first I was disappointed with the images and then I began to understand that my body, my mind, my soul were bone tired. Covid, the political unrest had affected me in ways I had not known before. It took me seeing images of myself, so unbelievably spent, to truly understand how to move forward with these nine women. When I returned to my studio, I knew I wanted the work to be about this tiredness and loneliness. At the same time, I knew the work had to be a continuation of Big Girls in order for all the work to share space in the Coos Art Museum. The Oregon fires had begun and the valley where I live was filled with smoke. Apocalyptic smoke. It was hard to think, to rest, to create. And all over the news were warnings of hazardous air quality, in other words, bad air. And, then I realized I have been breathing bad air for a long time. I have been breathing the bad air of hypocrisy, the bad air of hatred, the bad air of harassment, neglect, abandonment, prejudice and lies. So this work is about facing the bad air, and moving forward to peace, justice and truth.
The drawings reference various sources that include direct observation and photographs of my body. Three major influences for this work are Lisa Yuskavage, John Currin and Fernando Botera.
M. V. Moran earned her MFA in Visual Studies from Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, Oregon. Moran has a BFA in Painting from the University of Oregon in Eugene, Oregon. After several years of working at the UO in Student Services, she resigned from her position and began her dream of becoming a professional artist. Moran is also an Adjunct Professor of Art at Bushnell University in Eugene, Oregon and is an Artist-in-Residence for the Lane Arts Council.
M. V. Moran
The transportation costs of this exhibition was made possible by a grant from the Oregon Arts Commission.