If you haven’t heard of Mario Moore, you definitely should’ve. The Detroit native has been turning heads with his realistic and warm portraits, often drawn or painted in oil. In these works, Moore renders ordinary people with boldness and dignity. “I’ve always dealt with realism and naturalism, because I feel like everybody is able to approach my practice, and they’ll be able to understand the work on some level – whether it’s a person walking in off the street or someone with a Ph.D. in art history.”
Moore graduated from the College for Creative Studies with a degree in illustration and got his MFA in painting from Yale. His artwork can be found in the collections of institutions like the Detroit Institute of Arts, The Studio Museum in Harlem and the Princeton University Art Museum. He says a common thread through his work is our relationship with time, and the connection between the past and present.
“I like to think about how we sometimes continue in the same directions we’ve already been through,” Moore says. “The question that I think my works ask is ‘why?’ and ‘how?’ not necessarily to get an answer, but to draw attention.” In June, Moore’s retrospective, Enshrined: Presence + Preservation, opened at the Charles H. Wright Museum. The exhibition offers a look back over his body of work.
His lifelike portraits do for his contemporary, everyday subjects what the paintings of the Renaissance did for theirs – it elevates them and gives an air of majesty without pompous spectacle. Keeping busy, Moore is preparing for a solo exhibition at Arthur Roger Gallery in New Orleans this fall.
Enshrined: Presence + Preservation is on view at the Wright through Sept. 19.