“Well, it was a good place to run out of gas,” notes artist Christopher Mooney on his journey from his home on the East Coast, to Portland. With an emphasis on community and connection, Mooney expresses his passions through his landscape and portraiture paintings. With 35 years of working as an artist under his belt, Mooney has experienced nearly all aspects of the art world, from picture framing and working as a security guard for the Portland Art Museum, to curating shows and acting as a panelist for the Regional Arts Council. Even with such an impressive resume, the artist still seeks to further his career. Having taken a Gallery Management course at Merylhurst College (and running a gallery in the Pearl District long before it was The Pearl District), he hopes to manage a gallery again one day.
Bringing together architecture and nature, Mooney captures something so natural, so imbedded in us as humans; he captures the essence of human connectedness. With a focus on teamwork, he notes that he loves how a group of individuals can come together to create something that in turn brings more individuals together. For example, he tells me of the time he was allowed to join a Hawthorne bridge maintenance group and photograph them working. Being lifted up to the top of the bridge to take photos must have been an experience (not to mention a spectacular view) that many artists and Portlanders dream of.
Always having been a painter, he knows that his strengths lie in realism, but that does not stop Mooney from creating in the abstract. Much of his work is perspective architecture or landscape. Recently figures have been his focus. Using large scale canvasses Mooney paints men, women, and couples of various combinations. Several of his pieces explore connection through erotically-posed models. He comments that it is really fascinating to work in that genre because one develops a relationship with the person sitting for the piece. Mooney dives into the nuances in expression, pose, mood, personality and inner joy of the model, and brings them out with his brushstrokes. One of his most accomplished works is a piece titled “Stevie and Sarah” of two women cuddling. It demonstrates quite well his emphasis on bonding and connection, “From the moment we are born we need shelter, we need love, we need support …“ He goes on from there, “… and then we can touch to connect with one another; to love”.
Mooney’s work has been a making its way through Portland and Seattle. In addition to his studio in Lake Oswego and a few smaller displays around Portland, he will be exhibiting many of his figure pieces at the Seattle Erotica Festival this month! Even with several shows and exhibits in motion right now, there will definitely be more to come. Check out his work and read his blog on his website christopherbmooneystudios. com. If you happen to be perusing the city visit one of his exhibits at the Pearl Gallery or the Rental Sales Gallery in the Portland Art Museum.