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Wednesday December 11, 2002

by Mickey Rogers

EVER WISH you’d had the opportunity to schmooze with Picasso, gab with Van Gogh, or muse with Michelangelo? If you’ve ever wanted to mingle with one of the really great artists, don’t miss this opportunity to meet Alyam Moser and view his museum-quality works.

On Friday, December 13, from 5:00-8:00 pm, Moser will host an opening for his exhibition entitled “Icons and Oils” at Ancient World, 1812 Second St. The exhibit runs through January 31, 2003 and a portion of all proceeds will benefit the Tibetan Children's Relief Fund.

The icons will be exhibited along with a collection of large figurative, expressionist oil paintings from his “Into the Mysteries” and “Over the Rainbow: Ode to a Kindred Spirit" series. According to an article in The New York Times, “critics have called Moser a major artist comparing his work to that of Goya, Francis Bacon and the Masters of the Renaissance.”

Like the great masters, Moser incorporates multiple techniques in his paintings: glazing, imprimatura, alla prima, gesso fresco, scumbling, impasto and direct painting.

The genius behind this work is contemplative, yet intense. Even the names of his paintings are compelling - Bound by a False Beast, There was No Grass on the Other Side, Caught Between Two Realities, Into the Fertile Void. Artspeak magazine lauded his draftsmanship and the brilliant beauty of his colors and described his oils as having a “phantasmagorical element.”

“These works contribute a clear and impelling look at the reality behind the pretense of contemporary life; They seep with spirituality... of the human heart aspiring to be free... of an underground world of faith and power and torment... bursting with the energy of resurrection.”

Icon painting was derived from the early portrait painting of pre-Christian Rome. “It was primarily begun as a devotional practice,” Moser said. “The early Christian icons depicted saints and sages more as archetypes of worship.” Moser’s icons range from the more traditional saints - such as archangels Michael, Raphael and Gabriel; to White Thunder, holy man of the Lakota Sioux; to a seductive and powerful Bedouin Priestess.

Moser maintains “Historically, the creation of an icon required the artist to undergo several meditation and purification rituals beforehand in order to become attuned to the consciousness of the archetype, I first go into a deep meditation and focus on connecting with the essence of the deity or master.... I wait for the image of the being to reveal itself to me,” he said. “I do not work from any models or references... to say (the images are) ‘invented’ is not entirely accurate, as I am painting their portraits as I see them in meditation.”

Moser intuitively selects each piece of wood on which to paint his saints, sages and spiritual beings. “Painting on wood panels and the use of gold leaf is preferred, as (these elements) were believed to possess the higher vibratory levels necessary to act as spiritual conduits.” Moser said. “It is also believed that the materials themselves become imbued with sacred power.”

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