The Moon and I reflects upon noir and neo-noir aesthetics in contemporary art; cinematic tropes that include nightscapes, neon-tinged environments, mysterious figures, and clue-like symbology to illustrate a puzzling metanarrative. The exhibition title refers to the 2005 Rian Johnson-directed film Brick, an homage to film noir, about a teenage loner who pushes his way into the underworld of a high school crime ring to investigate the disappearance of his ex-girlfriend. In the film, an enigmatic character performs a spoken-word rendition of the song The Sun Whose Rays Are All Ablaze from the 1885 opera The Mikado, whose final words are ‘We’re very wide awake, the moon and I.’ The exhibition underscores and draws from this nonlinear convergence of narratives.
The works on view range from painting to photography to film, creating an elusive story told through several visual languages with distinctive formal approaches. The hard-edged, graphic style of Alice Tippit’s paintings create a coded language of looming ambiguity that encourages the viewer to question forms and symbolics. Matthew Day Jackon’s Footprint (2010) echoes this use of signals and forms with a gypsum relief that suggests memory and evidence of a just-missed action.
New paintings by Jessica Taylor Bellamy feature found imagery and text, such as those found in newspapers, that are screen printed on to the canvas amidst sun-kissed skies of kaleidoscopic light to create sublime explorations of the California landscape. Featuring a lone figure shouting illegible words into the woods of a forest at twilight, Michael Ho’s film work Echoes from the Void (2022) considers the echo chambers of contemporary conspiracy theories alongside the mythic, subterranean topography of the cave. Scattered representations of the moon in various artists’ works in the exhibition, such as those by TM Davy and Wanda Koop, offer a unifying atmosphere suggestive of uncanny events that often occur at night.