Between Elon Musk launching a $100,000 Tesla into the stratosphere to Netflix’s splashy sci-fi flick The Cloverfield Paradox, space travel is trending. At first glance, “Pagan’s Rapture,” painter Carrie Moyer’s new solo show at DC Moore, seems to conform to the trend. With titles like Return to Gynadome and Hot Jets Prevail, the colorful, telescopic paintings – all created in the last year – aptly reflect the show’s apocalyptic title. And while the science fiction genre tends to flourish in times of political unrest, Moyer says her paintings are less about abandoning the planet than just the opposite: remembering the pleasure of earthly existence.
“I’m sort of an advocate for stepping back and letting your senses take over,” Moyer says. “It’s like, how do we each approach the joy of how we’re alive. I know I’m sounding so corny right now, but it’s what I’m interested in and what I think about when I’m painting.”
However, explains Moyer, the show’s theme is also a wry wink at bad political actors. “[The title] is stealing from the very far right – that idea that we’re all going to die shortly because we’re sinners or something,” she says. “‘Rapture’ also has to do with an orgiastic state; it’s a double entendre. So it’s definitely a revolt against [that].”
Moyer’s roots in protest art run deep; after receiving her BFA in painting from Pratt in 1985, she designed agitprop for advocacy groups like Queer Nation and Act Up. But the motivation behind her abstract work transcends party lines. “The art world has always thought of itself as very leftist,” she says. “But there’s a part of all this where we’re kind of forgetting the body. [Painting] invites you to be in this space that is outside of language, and that’s the kind of space I’m interested in facilitating for people.”
As volatile as the times may be, Moyer remains busied by her abstract realm. On March 1 she’ll have another solo show – this time at Mary Boone – called “Seismic Shuffle.” Luckily, she says, her Long Island City painting studio offers an idyllic refuge. “I have this amazing studio where I overlook the Silvercup Studios. It’s an almost stereotypical view of the beauty of New York,” she says. “It’s like ‘Oh my god, I’m making these paintings in a movie.’”
Main image: “Hot Jets Prevail,” 2017 © Carrie Moyer. Courtesy of the artist and DC Moore Gallery, NY