At this time of year, the seductive smell of roasting meats and succulent dishes entices winter residents and visitors inside the exceptional restaurants lining Third Street South in Olde Naples. But Thursday night, the in-spot was Gardner Colby Gallery, where bright gallery spots spilled through the wide windows onto Gallery Row, beckoning guests through the open front door for a look at a group exhibition of new work by six of the gallery’s leading artists.
As patrons sipped champagne and sampled sushi, they were treated to paintings fresh from the easels of Chris Augusta, Kim English, Curt Hanson, Timothy Horn, Leonard Wren and Stan Moeller.
Those in attendance quickly discovered that Stan Moeller is a complex man. Well rounded to be sure. Some might even say he’s even a Renaissance Man. Not only is he a gifted painter, he’s an accomplished musician (guitar), a teacher, well-read, well-traveled, an attentive husband and doting dog-owner. But what’s most impressive to a potential collector is how well grounded he is in the world of art.
The titles of the books he’s deconstructed and digested roll off Stan’s tongue. Studies of John Singer Sargent and Joaquin Sorolla. Gabriel P. Weisberg’s rare and expensive Beyond Impressionism – The Naturalist Impulse and David Hockney’s Secret Knowledge. He’s even read comedian/author Steve Martin’s new novel, The Object of Beauty, a New York tale of art, money and ambition. Stan Moeller knows art history and the art market, and that translates onto the smooth Raphael linen canvases and specially-made Dale Vigent panels of which he is so fond.
Adapting the lessons learned in Secret Knowledge (in which Hockney writes about how the Old Masters used lenses and something known as camera obscura to take art to a new level), Moeller uses video to help him inject movement into his figurative work. “I like action, not traditional poses,” Moeller explains. Live video allows him to imprint fine movements on his mind’s eye and “paint the things we cannot see” as one collector quoted on Stan’s website so aptly phrased it.
By studying the movement of his models, including his lovely wife Tammy, Moeller’s figurative works take on a kinetic quality. They are dynamic, enigmatic and alluring. all at the same time. Tammy says it’s “like stealing a little bit of the model’s soul.”
More like memorializing their life force for posterity …. and for the rest of us to enjoy in the here and now.