Peaceful Coexistence

Peaceful Coexistence

Color finds its place beside corrosion


In some ways, says artist Gregory Moore, his work has already survived its own apocalypse.

“Apocalypse is kind of a theme that runs through my found object paintings,” he muses. “Because I use objects whose exposure to the elements is plainly visible, there is a feeling of being discarded or a sense of dealing with harshness that our own bodies could not withstand.

“I’m trying to paint on them in a way that does not obscure the markings made on them by their time in exile.”

Moore didn’t start out creating in the middle of rust and corrosion. In fact, his first inspiration was music.

Courtesy Photo
“Oven Bee” is on show in the Veggie Garden at BGO.

“I grew up in a very conservative setting, and a lot of the music that I loved was forbidden in my family,” he remembers. “I was in fourth grade when I stole a copy of Def Leppard’s ‘Hysteria’ from the public library. Its cover seemed so futuristic and weird and dangerous to me. I would stare at it with an intense mix of emotions: guilt, excitement, elation and a little fear.

“I invented imaginary bands in order to create their album covers. I wanted to create something as cool and mysterious as the ‘Hysteria’ album cover.”

Moore says he learned more about the mechanics of drawing and painting in community college, but he didn’t start painting on found objects until much later.

“In the late ’90s/early 2000s, I attended John Brown University in Siloam Springs and found myself without a car, wandering the city on foot, looking for things to do,” he recounts. “Some friends of mine and I would go to a salvage yard and take photographs. I began collecting some of the interesting stuff I found there, but I was not sure what to do with them. It wasn’t till years later, long after I left Siloam Springs, that I created my first found object painting. I had a rusty appliance door that I was using as a wall hanging that I loved, and I just one day had a brainstorm. I’ve been painting on found rusty objects ever since.”

Moore is currently showing a collection of his found object pieces, titled “Reclaimed Surfaces,” at the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks in Fayetteville, a grouping he designed with the garden in mind.

“I wanted to create images of some insects and critters to go amongst the flowers,” he says. “But I also created these paintings with people’s back yards, patios and gardens in mind as well.”

After all, he adds, he spends a lot of time with his own work.

Image courtesy Greg Moore
Moore says he found a piece of shelf behind a liquor store. “The rust patterns looked watery to me. Perfect for the weird catfish I’d been longing to paint.”

“My studio is in a room of my house that I have covered with protective floor and wall coverings,” he explains. “I generally have around five or six paintings going at once, as well as several metal pieces that I have displayed on easels while I try to figure out what to paint on them. I tend to take a long time hanging out with the metal pieces before I know what I want to paint.

“As I paint, I let the characteristics that attract me to the piece guide my painting, overlaying imagery that integrates and honors the character of the found object.”

His current favorite is “Canna Lily Rust #1,” which is on show in the Founder’s Garden at BGO.

“I am really happy with the bright yellow colors and how the interaction of flowers with rust turned out. I think of it as my signature piece currently.”



‘Reclaimed Surfaces:

Paintings By Gregory Moore’

WHEN — Until May 31

WHERE — Botanical Garden of the Ozarks in Fayetteville

COST — $4-$7 garden admission; paintings are available for purchase with a portion of the proceeds going to the BGO

INFO — 750-2620 or

BONUS — An exhibit guide can be picked up in the Visitors Center with details on each piece, including where it is located in the garden.

Categories: Galleries