Domestic Astronomy is a body of painted works that extends Moyle’s previous investigations of sacred crafts and domestic decoration. Geometric or architectural structures aspiring to transcendence are painted onto domestic surfaces and scaled to the size of ordinary dinnerware. This play between utility and magnificence attempts to realise the connection between the ordinary and the wondrous.
A series of works called “Red Hill Observatory” that comprises a total of 70 small wooden discs is a highlight of the exhibition. These are paintings onto surfaces that Moyle salvaged from his brother’s house when he was helping to renovate it. Curtains, linoleum, Formica, bench tops, rimu plywood, upholstery and various other surfaces rich with dated fashion were saved from the skip.
“These surfaces reminded me of the home I grew up in. I realised that the family that previously lived in this home on Red Hill Road probably had thousands of sacred memories with these surfaces as the backdrop. Many of these works have painted designs based on rose windows from cathedrals I have visited in my travels. Others have crisp geometric, celestial shapes that still allow the original surface to speak,” Duane Moyle.
On the completion of his Fine Arts degree at AUT in 2004, Moyle set off for the UK. He wanted to immerse himself in the art, history and culture that London and Europe had to offer. In 2008 he completed a Masters of Fine Arts at Wimbledon College of Art and made and exhibited works until returning to New Zealand in 2010. Focussing on supporting his growing family for some time after that, Moyle’s artistic practice became secondary to jobs in construction and furniture making. However, when he sold two paintings and was commissioned to create two works in 2015, his artistic ambitions were rekindled. Further sales and commissions strengthened his resolve to practice, and he began to develop the ideas that he had begun in 2009.
“This was immediately after my studies and I wanted to step sideways from the critical, ironic works that I had been making and paint some flowers. I wanted to paint more with my heart than my head,” Duane Moyle.
In mid-2017 he joined the team at Tauranga Art Gallery as Exhibition Manager.
“This is the perfect job for me. I am surrounded by great art and artists and I’m able to use many of the skills I learnt whilst supporting my young family. Since returning to Tauranga I have seen the visual arts begin to thrive like never before. This is to a large degree due to the development and acceptance of the Tauranga Art Gallery.”
Audiences will enjoy the skill that Moyle applies to his work. Flawless linear renderings paired with unusual colour combinations, pattern and forms float across and embed themselves into the underlying vintage surfaces. There is an air of rituality, such as one might find in the architecture of an ancient monastery or in imagery associated with new age spiritual practices.