Moss’s new body of work marks a significant transition from figuration to abstraction while still employing the artist’s signature cut-steel canvases and industrial tools to explore materiality and color. At the center of this exhibition is his series Steel Shapes, in which Moss uses a blowtorch and unique patinas to test the limits of color on various shaped steel canvases welded together, recalling modernist tropes such as color-field painting, hard-edge abstraction, and assemblage. In these works, traditional linen and wood have been replaced with steel, the brush with a torch, and paint with patina.
In addition to the Steel Shapes series, the artist will debut three wall-mounted steel works, in which he applied the blowtorch to explore the tactility and textures of the material. He relied solely on the raw essence of the steel and the soot particles caused by burning acetylene, resulting in a subtle contrast of shape and shadow that evokes painterly abstraction in monochromatic hues. Moss inserts the powerful element of fire and the rawness of steel into a dialogue of subtlety and restraint within the framework of traditional minimalism.
Within all elements of his work, Moss deploys steel as a deliberate substitution for the traditional canvas while at the same time rejecting its historical use to create large-scale monolithic structures. Rather, as critic Lilly Wei notes, Moss “has searched for ways to present his ‘steel paintings,’ ultimately devising an elegant structural solution” to the past.