I am fascinated by history. I view painting as a historical journey that shifts through time -From ancient Black civilizations that produced some of the most sophisticated and advanced empires the world has ever seen; European history paintings that depict Black bodies in subordinate roles; to the historical consequences of the Atlantic slave trade and the effects it has on African Americans today. My interest in these histories is how they all can be found in one location, one body—the Black body— I employ this body to show power and resilience through the denial of the colonial gaze. I redefine the gaze for the subjects I paint, allowing them to look directly out in an unflinching stare.The historical references within my work draw parallels to the social, economic and racial occurrences of today.
I use people close to me as models to represent the many facets of humanity and particular issues that directly affect me and my community. Particularly, the unjust killing of black men and women by law enforcement. I tackle the stigma of stereotypes often assigned to Blacks. For example, the “angry Black man” or “angry Black woman”. I paint figures that exist as multi-dimensional, unapologetically flawed human beings with a range of feelings they are liberated to have.
Mario Moore’s beautifully rendered realist paintings focus on the personal, social and political implications of our segregated society. Presenting stories of his own life and those of friends and family, Moore weaves in multiple references to history, art, politics and literature to complete his narrative. Most recently he spent a year as the Hodder Fellowship artist in residence at Princeton University to produce The Work of Several Lifetimes,a series focused on the African American service workers employed on the campus of Princeton University.
Moore’s work has been exhibited widely including at the Charles H. Wright Museum, Detroit; The Detroit Institute of Arts; The Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University, NJ; the Smart Museum of Art, Chicago, IL, David Klein Gallery, Detroit, MI; The Urban Institute of Contemporary Arts, Grand Rapids, MI and is currently in the Smithsonian Sites Exhibition (traveling), Men of Change. In 2021 he will have a solo exhibition at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit.
Mario Moore, a Detroit native, received a BFA from the College for Creative Studies, Detroit, MI and an MFA in Painting from the Yale School of Art, New Haven, CT. He lives and works in Detroit.