Upon first entering the Marlow Moss exhibition at the leading institute and internationally known Museum Haus Konstruktiv, l must admit the work of Piet Mondrian sprang to mind. However, this train of thought was swiftly swept aside upon closer inspection of the work and life of artist Marlow Moss.
Layer by layer, the exhibition “Marlow Moss – A Forgotten Maverick”, (curated by Museum Director, Sabine Schaschl and Art Historian, Lucy Howarth), drew my attention to this artist – whose work has been long overshadowed by the famous male artists of the constructivists movement, namely Mondrian.
The exhibition itself allows you to view the work of Moss in fine detail, within a carefully curated contemporary structure. Based on mathematical principles, Moss explored the structural framework of straight lines using blocks of primary colour, as well as black and white, l found the original drawings exhibited in-conjunction with the actual finished compositions extraordinary and richly insightful. As the observer, we get to enjoy her compositions from intricate pencil drawings to full-scale artworks, as well as sculptural pieces, which include wire adaptations of her compositional line work.
The additional art lecture given by Art Historian Lucy Howarth gave further insight into the life and work of Marlow Moss. We soon discovered that the “double-line element (also a well-known element of Mondrian’s work) was in fact invented by Moss…it was (to my dismay, yet not overly surprise) subsequently made apparent that Mondrian did not point this out. During the lecture, their work was presented side-by-side, which l found hugely revealing, as you could clearly see how Moss was aspiring to break away from the boundaries of the black compositional lines.
l rather like the idea of Moss and Mondrian having a ‘double line’ conversation via their art compositions. Leads me to wonder …perhaps Mondrian felt challenged by Moss and her compositional approach.
l was left questioning the female artist presence or more importantly lack of within the art world. Briefly talking to Lucy Howarth after the lecture, l feel that Moss was indeed a true maverick, which l believe came natural to her. She is certainly an artist who requires our attention, and whose work demands to be an imperative part of the constructivist conversation.
l may have walked in thinking of Mondrian, but l walked away positively focused on Marlow Moss.
‘Marlow Moss A Forgotten Maverick’ – All images are courtesy of the museum.