Looking at art made by a couple — in this case Richard and Maria Mogas — can be problematic. Of course, you know there is a hidden conversation. Currently, they are exhibiting together at REM Gallery, and there's plenty of cross-talk.
Richard Mogas is a well-known SA architect whose signature minimalist buildings are pierced by many windows and glass walls. From the outside, they recall modernist interpretations of clustered adobe buildings. Inside, whites and light woods dominate. His interiors are filled with daylight that throws shadows off one wall, then another, as the sun marches up and down the sky through the long and short seasons.
For over 20 years Mogas has worked with tape, a tool in the architect's craft, in constructing abstract paintings that play with modules, points, and lines, that often seem to examine the rectangular habits of the built environment. Several of his new paintings currently on view uncharacteristically introduce representational elements as well: horse-shaped outlines that uncomfortably emerge from the center of abstracted backgrounds, or more successfully, as in Esperanza in Landscape, hover half-seen under horizontal bars transected by diagonal sections and bits of smudged white paint. Mogas relates that he worked on a ranch when young, and has explored West Texas by vehicle, often delighting in seeing horses in the distance. With their empty centers, his equine forms seem like names recalled without faces, placeholders for drifting memories. Throughout the collection there is mention of building materials and process. Landscape Grid, a large, multi-panel work features wood grain, painterly drips, and swathes of white paint brim that with materiality. As with the horses, these are organic forms. But all is contained in the construction zone.
Maria Mogas teaches art at the Young Women's Leadership Academy of SAISD, and is an associate in the Mogas architectural firm. Her sculptural pieces recalling feminine issues and domestic traditions use paper to revel in the dress maker's pattern-making, incorporate clothespins to create the appropriately named Feminine Form, and in the ominous Unpleasant Sensations, shape the twin-helix of DNA with the same components, paired with written symbols that name psychotropic pharmaceuticals dispensed — most often to women — to regulate mood, and, one suspects, behavior.
Like her husband Richard's work, hers is visually elegant, perhaps more consistently so. But, like the architect's tape, here beauty is a tool. Having got your attention, Maria Mogas makes you ask, "Does it really have to be this way?"
Richard Mogas: "Compositions"
Maria Mogas: "Threads and Forms"
Noon-6pm Fri-Sat and by appointment
Holiday reception 6-9pm Dec 14
219 E Park
Through January 4