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NATURE CULT, SEEDED | Donald Moffett

May 25 - September 8

May 25 – September 8, 2024

NATURE CULT, SEEDED is the artist’s first exhibition in Maine, where he is a seasonal resident on North Haven. Moffett (b. 1955, San Antonio, TX) emerged as both an artist and activist in the late 1980s, participating in ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power), as a founding member of the collective Gran Fury, and as a founding partner in BUREAU, a trans-disciplinary studio. Taking abstraction and the monochrome as evolving unfinished languages, Moffett challenges the traditional flat frame of painting through non-traditional techniques and employs new forms that serve as carriers of both personal and political meaning. Currently, Moffett is pursuing NATURE CULT, a deep study and expanding practice of how art and the environmental crisis might collide. “The intensity of a cult is called for as we turn our attention to nature and its preservation,” says the artist.

NATURE CULT, SEEDED is the latest iteration in an ongoing series. The exhibition is centered on the large-scale sculptural installation, Lot 030323/24 (the golden bough), an assemblage of dead tree limbs painted gold and bolted together to form an undead yet ethereal totem to life. In a recent interview with fellow North Haven resident architect Toshiko Mori in Domus magazine, Moffett speaks of his interest in “the tree, the
fundamental unit of a forest and the web of ecology that builds out from the tree. When you mess with the tree, a system can fall apart.” Other works in the exhibition are new wall-mounted and freestanding sculptures incorporating the form of weathered birdhouses punctured and perforated and painted in intense hues. Also included is a selection of the artist’s emblematic shaped and carved panel paintings finished in luminous epoxy resin or given a lush pelt of extruded paint, referencing various organic and bodily forms. Throughout the exhibition, the haunting sound of the now-extinct male Kaua‘i ‘ō‘ō bird can be heard calling for a mate that will never come. At once ominous and seductive, DONALD MOFFETT | NATURE CULT, SEEDED is a clarion call to the precariousness of our planet under stress. “I don’t think there are issues more important than nature and its health,” says the artist.

About the artist:

Donald Moffett’s diverse and formally innovative practice includes painting, sculpture, installation, photography, drawing, prints, and video. His work is included in over thirty public collections, including the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, CA; the Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, TX; the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA; The Menil Collection, Houston, TX; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA; the Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY and the Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY, among others. Moffett has had solo exhibitions across the United States and internationally, including a major survey exhibition at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Houston, TX, which traveled to the Tang Museum at Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY, and The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, PA. His work has been included in important group shows such as Greater New York at MoMA PS1, New York, NY; America is Hard to See at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; and ICA Collection: Expanding the Field of Painting at the Institute of Contemporary Art Boston, Boston, MA. In 2022, his work was featured in the exhibition DONALD MOFFETT + NATURE CULT + THE McNAY at the McNay Art Museum, San Antonio, TX. Moffett is a member of the Board of Governors of the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Skowhegan, ME, and New York, NY, and the National Leadership Council of the Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas, Austin, TX. Moffett divides his time between Maine, Texas, and New York City.

About the curator:

Suzette McAvoy is an independent curator, arts writer, and museum consultant with over forty years of experience in fine art and museums. A frequent lecturer and writer on art and artists of Maine, she has curated more than seventy exhibitions throughout her career, including nationally traveling exhibitions of the work of Louise Nevelson, Kenneth Noland, Lois Dodd, and Alex Katz. From 2010-2020, she served as Executive Director and Chief Curator at CMCA. Prior to her tenure at CMCA, she was Chief Curator at the Farnsworth Art Museum.


Header image: Donald Moffett, Lot 030323 (the golden bough), 2023, Oil-based enamel on wood, hardware, 166 ½ x 97 x 95 inches (detail).


May 25
September 8
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Main Gallery
21 Winter Street
Rockland, ME 04841 United States
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