Damian Moppett

Damian Moppett (b. 1969, Calgary, Alberta; lives/works: Vancouver) has long been engaged with the processes and materials of painting and sculpture, and their histories, which he uses for the construction of his own vernacular. In his work, Auguste Rodin and Mike Kelley hold court alongside amateur ceramics and humourous interpretations of classical modernist sculpture. In recent years, the eccentric personal and art historical references found in his earlier works remain significant, but much less overt.

Newer sculptures, paintings, and installations take on more abstracted forms that are more difficult to pin to their referents, as they sit just beyond the limits of figuration. For example, in Moppett's recent work, as in his painting Alan Jarvis Burning Milne Paintings at Six Mile Lake, 1939 (2016), a large work on canvas which appears to be created in an abstract-expressionist style, the artist in fact creates new compositions by citing brushstrokes or marks appearing elsewhere, but made unidentifiable through a painstaking and labourious process of translation: tracing free expressionistic gestures on paper, and placing and transferring these using unconventional tools that may not be apparent in the finished work. The process is akin to a sort of record-making, closer to printmaking than painting, and what appears to be immediate in the works is predetermined like a purposeful accident aimed at playing with and commenting on the idea of artistic mastery.

Moppett has an MFA from Concordia University in Montreal, as well as a BFA from the Emily Carr College of Art and Design, where he has taught for over a decade. Recent solo exhibitions include Catriona Jeffries, Vancouver (2021), Simon Fraser University Gallery, Burnaby (2014); Vancouver Art Gallery Off-site (2012); Rennie Collection at Wing Sang, Vancouver (2011); Catriona Jeffries, Vancouver (2010); Yvon Lambert, Paris (2007); Temple Gallery, Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia (2007); Carleton University Art Gallery, Ottawa (2006); and Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver (2005). Moppett has also been included in numerous group exhibitions at Griffin Art Projects, North Vancouver (2018); the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa (2017); Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton (2016); Satellite Gallery, Vancouver (2011); Vancouver Art Gallery (2010); Witte de With, Rotterdam, the Netherlands (2006); Yvon Lambert, New York (2006); Museum Van Hedendaagse Kunst Antwerpen, Antwerp (2005); White Columns, New York; Galerie Kunstbuero, Vienna (2004); Power Plant, Toronto (2002); and Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh (2002).