“I have utilized the tradition of reducing geometric painting but I’ve never been interested in it as a pure form of abstraction. Instead I thought of it as a language to combine with other painting languages . . . ”
—From the artist’s journal
The retrospective of Moira Dryer’s work at Gallery 400 is the first exhibition of its kind in Chicago. After graduating from the School of Visual Arts in New York City, where she studied with Elizabeth Murray, Dryer became a successful New York painter in the late 1980s and early 1990s, before her five-year battle with breast cancer cut her career short. The ten works exhibited at Gallery 400 were created between 1989 and 1992, Dryer's most productive years. The artist focused predominantly on creating abstract paintings through layering ethereal washes of paint over large squares of wood, evoking emotional landscapes of both longing and play, accentuated by sculptural elements or objects she sometimes affixed to her canvases. In the early 1990s she also began to fashion larger canvases covered in vertical stripes, exemplified in the painting Frontline. According to Ellen Steinberg, “These works are exemplary of the artist’s conflation of abstract painting conventions and added hardware to infuse her work with narrative, irony and emotion.” Moira Dryer was born in Toronto in 1957, and died of breast cancer in May 1992.