Moberg Gallery Artist Statements

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Bart Vargas

Bart Vargas is from Bellevue, Nebraska. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Nebraska at Omaha in 2007, and his Master of Fine Art at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities in 2011. Vargas has exhibited internationally, and his work can be found in many private, public, collegiate and corporate collections throughout the United States, Europe and Asia. Vargas’s paintings were featured in New American Paintings No. 89, Midwest Edition 2010, and his sculptures have received a 2010 Outstanding Student Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award from the International Sculpture Center, as well as being exhibited as part of the 2010 Beijing International Art Biennale (BIAB).

Painting Statement

Joseph Campbell, the cross-cultural mythologist once observed that people do not want to understand life; they want to experience it as richly as they possibly can. I think about my paintings in a similar way.  Their energy, movement, color and form leaves the surface and enters a space, or even better, the viewer. In their essence each one of them is a celebration, and that is all they need to be.

Sculpture Statement
For over a decade, I have been exploring the artistic potential of trash and recyclable materials. Using pattern, repetition and form, I’ve built sculptures, and installations that have blurred the identity of these everyday materials, transforming them into playful, thought-provoking objects. I want my creations to act as artifacts and evidence of the early 21st century, and hope to do so by using materials that are no longer needed or valued in an era of limited resources and extraordinary consumption and waste.

TJ Moberg

TJ Moberg has been commissioned to create both private and public works in both contemporary and traditional form. His work in currently displayed in homes, businesses and galleries nationwide. He strives to achieve a collaborative relationship between the client and himself, in order to create art that is to artistically and personally meaningful to both. When designing pieces that are not commissioned, but are intended for public spaces or gallery exhibits, he works from a more eclectic base of interest. He simply creates pieces that reflect his life and the lives of those around him at that time.

"The underlying current of my artistic career is to create the unknown, the unseen , and the unbelievable. I believe my art communicates homage to art history, spans the modern visual language for future generations, and fuels and ongoing interest in modern art." - TJ Moberg

Jordan Weber

Jordan Weber is a full time artist and curator from Des Moines whose focus has been on street art and environmental activism. Jordan strives to speak for the underprivileged majority against the opulently ruling minority. Weber uses oil, acrylic, spray paint, concrete and neon in numerous bodies of work to shock viewers from apathy while perturbing routine life. 

Frank Hansen

Young Frank cut wood, bailed hay, fed cows, dipped slime, had a tumor, and dreamt big on a small farm near Des Moines. His childhood formed his artistic vision early. The rusty old junk he was surrounded by made him realize that art didn't have to be pretty, and maybe the best wasn't. He took that approach to college and eventually created his own style of art he calls Emotionalism. Any subject or image could be used; as long as it was done well and he felt passionately about it. Using childhood memories, world topics, inside jokes and absurd imagery mixed with unorthodox mediums just felt fight; especially when they are all used together.

Toby Penney

My goal is to appreciate and learn from everyday and every experience. Small, simple moments are what really matter in a lifetime. Long lasting relationships are built out of enduring and appreciating the everyday. 

Color is absolutely one of the most memorable elements of a moment for me. Often I start a painting with a quick sketch or mark and then a flood of color. The memory of a color can often be the catalyst for an entire painting or even series of paintings. After my initial mark making and color choice, each layer of the work is created in response to the previous one. After several layers are applied the painting has a history of its own. The texture of this history can be seen in the layers of paint and collage that build up.

Mixed oil media including artist oil, enamel and oil bars are favored painting mediums but I often incorporate found, reclaimed, and recycled materials into my pieces.  Clothing, particularly that of family members will often find its way into my paintings. I have a definite affinity for handmade and vintage fabrics as well. These time worn pieces carry a sense of history and wisdom with them. I strive to capture and memorialize some of this energy in my paintings.  In an effort to connect with history, recently I have been incorporating techniques from traditional craftwork into my paintings. You can see both sewing and knitting techniques, among others at times. Very often, I am using articles made by my own hand.

Sandra Perlow

The new paintings and drawings of Sandra Perlow are a deliberate evolution of her active interest in abstraction and pictorial space. Over the last several years, her works have evolved from flat arrangements of color and shape to pictorial membranes, which create a push and pull of figure and ground relationships. Perlow states her paintings and drawings reflect an affinity with surfaces, which have accumulated layers of history, moss covered ruins of Mexico, architecture of Angkor Wat, remnants of movie posters on abandoned buildings or the worn surfaces of Italian frescoes. Perlow’s organic forms and wallpaper motifs are concealed and revealed through veils of color as decorative surfaces are echoed in painterly patterns and improvisatory mark-making.

Perlow’s creative process is an energetic shuffling and sorting of memory, text, sound and image. There is spontaneity in her studio practice as the surrounding loop sets up a syncopated tempo as she works on several canvases at one time. The cacophony of visual signs are also found in the layers of images on her studio table: a landscape of books and papers form a visual library from Chinese brush painting Rotella’s decollates or the works of Philip Guston. The creative impulse is immediate and improvisational as Perlow pulls paper, motif and gesture onto the surface of the picture plane.

This connected series of collage on canvas and works on paper is inspired by infusing woodcuts into the work. The wood cuts are incorporated as a drawing tool ,using the woodcut area in combination with oilstick and acrylic.


Madai Taylor

I was born on Bunker Hill in Lake Village, Arkansas, a small town south of the Mississippi River, down in the Delta, an area stricken by racism and blighted by deep poverty.

As a child without shoes on my feet I would jump off the front porch of the dilapidated old house where I lived to play in mud puddles, after heavy summer rains. I can still feel the thick, soft earth gushing through my toes and caked around my feet. Wet dirt would flow and fasten itself around my fingers as I made tiny mud figures.

I discovered my gift for art as a child playing in the mud and scratching images in the dry, parched and crusty earth. One of the earliest memories of my artistic ability was a drawing of a horse’s head at the age of eleven, which gave me instant gratification that I shall never forget. In this exhibition which I call “A Measure of Grace,” I have used dirt in a non-objective, expressionistic way to create a vocabulary symbolizing my ideals and values. I have often referred to my childhood for inspiration, especially that child-like quality of free expression. In so doing, I discover myself back in the Delta, playing in the mud again, using that medium that I grew to understand because of the time I spent working with it.

Dirt intrigues me as a medium because it has unique characteristics, rare tones, gradations, and textures that lend themselves to an immense, versatile range of possibilities. It allows me to express infinite space and spiritual universes that exist beyond the visible world in a medium that is timeless and of the soul. The earth I use is the common thread we all know intimately from the moment we enter into the world and take our first steps as children. Earth is there to secure our every step and to catch us when we fall.

The works in this exhibition are introspective metaphors. To develop them, I poured out all my previous notions of myself as an artist, all my doubts and fears. Believing that I possessed the Spirit to express a unique visual interpretation of grace, I allowed myself to be free; I am truly naked in these images. To do this, I have explored many layers of emotion, revealing what is concealed by the obvious or apparently real.

True creativity is the ability to birth raw, authentic artistic form, a new creation that broadens consciousness. Talent alone will not suffice. Each image must be a combination of skill and originality that work together to produce artistic expression that is powerful, provocative, captivating, sophisticated and, finally, timeless.

Born Lake Village, Arkansas, July 1955