Featured Artist: Michelle Moore
Michelle Moore’s poems have appeared in Commonweal, Rattle, Black Dirt, Cider Press Review, and other journals; she is also the author of two poetry chapbooks: The Deepest Blue (Rager Media, 2007) and Longing for Lightness: Selected Poetry by Antonia Pozzi Translated from the Italian (Poetry Miscellany Press, 2002). Her art has previously been exhibited at Summit ArtSpace, Square Records, and Angel Falls Coffee Company (the best coffeehouse in Akron).
These abstracts pieces—all acrylic mixed media on wood panels—came about through a process that begins with play and ends with discernment. What happens in between play and discernment includes painting, layering, collaging, digging, sanding, scraping, drawing, rotating, risk-taking, hair pulling, tear shedding, cursing, and salvage operations. Like many people, I’ve always been hounded by the urge to create. Unfortunately, this hounding doesn’t always come with clarity or a guaranteed level of accomplishment. In the 1984 movie Amadeus, Mozart’s rival Antonio Salieri says, “[God] gave me that longing . . . and then made me mute. Why . . . implant the desire . . . then deny me the talent?” I love that quote because it really expresses my personal truth about creativity: it’s both a blessing and a curse. I wrote and studied poetry for more than twenty years before returning to art in 2008, and I’ve lost count of the times I’ve wished to be free of the creative urge when it leads to struggle and frustration. The artist Phyllida Barlow (1944 – 2023) noted that “making work that does not have a destination has its loneliness and its sadness about it. And many artists endure that for their entire lives, and it’s heroic.” At sixty-three, I’m still trying to find my creative niche, still trying to birth work that surprises me and makes me happy, and still trying to make peace with my many shortcomings. If it’s heroic to honor the creative urge despite the many difficulties involved, then I guess I’m a hero in a tribe of heroes.