En quelques mots - Fall 2015

 

Je me suis installée à demeure dans la campagne française en 2009. Par amour. À l’époque, je n’imaginais pas à quel point j’allais bientôt me retrouver éloignée de ma zone de confort. Au-delà des différences culturelles compréhensibles, en termes de langue ou de rythme quotidien, il était un choc que je n’avais pas anticipé : en France, le portrait peint traditionnel est passé de mode depuis qu’on y a coupé la tête du roi. La tradition s’est à ce point perdue qu’en dépit d’années de recherches, je n’ai pu trouver ne serait-ce qu’un peintre français vivant acceptant l’étiquette de portraitiste.

Je suis une portraitiste traditionnelle.

Près de dix ans plus tard, on m’a offert l’opportunité d’une exposition personnelle dans une très belle galerie parisienne. Un rêve — je ne trouve pas les mots pour l’exprimer. J’ai décidé de persévérer hors de cette zone de confort, et de réaliser ces neuf portraits sans mes outils traditionnels, peintures à l’huile et panneaux de bois, mais avec ceux qui sont à ma disposition à la ferme à Ussy : cartons de semence et bombes de peinture.

J’ai choisi d’honorer ces neuf femmes, héroïnes effrontées de ma jeunesse, pour leur courage, leur beauté, leur histoire

A Brief History

I moved permanently to rural France in 2009. For Love. At the time, I never could have imagined how far outside of my comfort-zone I would soon find myself. Putting aside all of the normal cultural differences of language and daily rhythms, I didn't realize that the biggest hit to my psyche would be that the traditional painted portrait went out of fashion just after the victorious severing of the Kings head. The tradition fell out of favor, to the point that no searches of mine in the last several years turned up even one living French painter willing to label themselves as a portraitist.

I am a traditional portraitist.

Nearly 10 years later, I've been given my first solo exhibit at a beautiful gallery in Paris...a dream beyond any words I can find. I decided to continue marching outside of this comfort-zone, completing these nine portraits not with my old school traditional oils and wood panels, but with the materials I have available to me on the farm in Ussy, seed cartons and spraypaint.

I chose to honor these 9 women, the brazen females of my youth, for their courage, their beauty, their stories.

Art and Life - 2015

 

Life has been very busy in my studio and on the farm... along with the daily schedule of painting, we built a Bio-Gaz system that takes the green compost of the fields and mixes it with the cow shit to produce clean gas... now we supply home gas to the 900 people in our village. It has been our personal protest to Dick Cheney's gang who came into France trying to introduce "fracking'... France has now forbidden fracking.

This is supposed to be a painting blog (ha!) ... the biggest change in my studio has been the materials I've been starting to expirement with .. spraypaint and farming equipment containers. They make strangly comfortable partners with the traditional portrait. All my life I have followed the Baltimore Realists technique of oil on Masonite, using a Maroger medium. But all around me is grafittied walls and buildings, trapped in by tractors and farming equipment. When a piece of equipment or supplies arrive on the farm, they are contained in thick, gorgeous cartons that I have begun to stabilize and prep for archival canvases. The dirty, often oil stained cartons have gotten me to loosen my realist grip and free up my inner art student. The use of spray paint , (Bombes in French) has sent me on a wild chase to find my place in the brave new world of street art ... I'll let you know how that goes ...

As some of you may already know, we open a bedroom and studio space every year to artists, writers and musicians who are looking for quiet time to work or reflect. These rural residencies last from two weeks to three months. We have one opening for next fall. Contact me for details if you are interested.


 The Beauty of Ussy -  2013

 

Time moves quickly, and my studio is full of drawings and paintings ready to be packed and shipped for exhibit in Annapolis.

I've been working on this new series, Le Modèle en France, (The Figure in France) for more than a year.  For this new series, I looked to my immediate surroundings for inspiration, the women of Ussy.  The women who come to the farm to help, the other mothers at school, the women I see everyday in my tiny village.  Each of these women know the farm very well, they walk the dirt roads and cross the fields for pleasure or work.  They see what I see, the expanse of yellow canola and the soft curves of the cattles back.  I asked them to imagine soaring over the fields, and they each posed in my studio while envisioning themselves floating above the landscape. We worked together, day after day, month after month, to bring an idea back to Annapolis of the incredible beauty that is the women of Ussy.

If you are in Annapolis in November, come see me at 49 West Café.


 The Studio in Ussy - Winter 2011

 

I've settled into the life in Ussy, working in my studio and trying to restart the French Portrait Revolution.... it begins to take shape this revolution.... I have been invited to exhibit in several very nice salons and I am currently showing in Jouarre in honor of the writings of the women of Brie in the 18th century. I still do portrait work in the States, flying back twice a year to work with the commissions... I continue to study a bit every day, now having access to more of the French school of thought, and it is inspiring me and pushing me in a few different directions.


Studio Moved to France - Summer 2009

 

In June 2009, I moved permanently to the Farm in Ussy sur Marne, France.

I travel back to the states frequently for portrait and gallery work, and to see my loving family and friends.

Please visit the Annapolis Collection Gallery on West Street, The Framer's Vise Gallery, and La Petite Gallery on Maryland Ave. And, when in France, try to visit Galerie Cardo des Arts Contemporain in Reins, Champagne.



Kendel Ehrlich Portrait - Spring 2008
In February of last year, Kendel Ehrlich asked me to paint her Official Portrait for the Governor's Mansion in Annapolis, Maryland. Each time a Govenor leaves office, his official portrait is painted and hangs permanently in the State House. The First Ladies also each have their portraits painted and the large collection of these hang permanently in Government House, the official resident of the Govenor of Maryland and his family.

Kendel Ehrlich was a wonderful subject, a very generous spirit. The story behind her portrait is complex and interesting, with the focus on capturing a portrait that is telling of her time as the First Lady of Maryland. The portrait will be on view later this Spring, in the public rooms of Government House.

 

Florence Biennale - Winter 2007

I was honored in the middle of last year to be invited to exhibit in the 2007 Florence Biennale, in Florence, Italy. In December, JF and I left the farm in Ussy and made the overnight train trip into Florence. The Biennale brings together painters, sculptors and contemporary visual artists from all over the world. The President of Italy was in attendance for the opening ceremonies, and each day of the eight day exhibit brought scholars to hold discussions and lectures pertaining to modern art. A small group of friends from Annapolis came to Italy to share the festivities. Brian and Sarah Cahalan from 49 West Cafe' and Bret Mingo and his girlfriend Sandy arrived the day of the opening ceremonies, and we ate and drank our way across the city of Florence.

Dave Wright, (Annapolis and Montreal) is the benefactor responsible for getting the whole project off the ground and running. Many thanks, Dave!

The photo is the group of us in front of my three paintings.

Jump!

 

 





   
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The Studio of Moe Hanson
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