David Moore

David Moore is currently an instructor of photography at LeMoyne College, and his images have been featured in solo and group exhibitions nationwide. His work is included in permanent collections across the country, including at the Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse, Vision North Gallery in San Francisco, and Midtown Y Gallery in New York.

Born1953
BirthplaceWestfield, NJ
GenderMale
CitizenshipUnited States
Cultural HeritageEuropean-American

Artwork

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Essays

David Moore calls his images 'beings of darkness.' His series False Idols unfolds within the setting of abandoned structures where staged actions and costumed models give shape to the artist's perceptions of spiritual awakening and loss. The images resonate with mourning and doubt, and his subjects are most often possessionless and lighted by a mystic wisp of sun. The crucifixion icons are taken to an extreme as nails protrude from the head of many subjects, angelic figures float in doorways, and saint-like models clutch the bible and pray to the Madonna. Each image 'gives form to spiritual longings in a worldly time with little faith.' Moore seems to be purging, cleansing himself amidst the ruin, searching for 'the spirit that waits in gestation.' Moore will use the Light Work Grant to begin a new body of work.

Amy Hufnagel (c)1994


During every one of the past 25 years Light Work has awarded fellowships to Central New York photographers, photo-historians, and critics. Simply titled, the Light Work Grant is one the longest running photography fellowships in the country, and recipients must reside within a fifty-mile radius of Syracuse. This region is home to many universities, museums, galleries, and artists, and this year grants of $1,000 were awarded to three applicants from this diverse community of academics and artists.

Thomas Piché (Syracuse) is senior curator for the Everson Museum of Art and was awarded a grant for his past critical and curatorial undertakings. His latest projects include Mark Alice Durant: The Battle of Evermore and Carrie Mae Weems: Recent Work. Published in this issue of Contact Sheet is Piché’s essay “The Beautiful Landscape.” It is one component of his proposed project that includes an exhibition and book recounting the history of American landscape photography. In this project Piché explores the production of nineteenth and twentieth century images that first served to record and promote the beauty of the West and later served as cultural commentary. Citing the work of Carleton Watkins, George Fiske, Ansel Adams and Roger Minick, whose Woman with a Scarf at Inspiration Point, Yosemite National Park, 1980, reproduced on the front cover of this issue, Piché codifies the aesthetics of western landscape photography and reasons the consequences of its production.

In 1998, Karen La Vallee Norton (Ithaca) survived a near-fatal illness. This event induced in her a “heightened awareness...and a sense of purpose previously not experienced” and led her to produce the series En Memorium. The series equates her contact with twentieth-century medical technology to nineteenth-century medical practices documented in photographs. To accomplish the blending of two centuries of medical procedures, Norton digitally reproduced the nineteenth-century photographs. These images chronicle horrifying enigmatic diseases and their equally baffling treatments. The addition of text to the images connects these historic documents to her ordeal. Norton is a visiting assistant professor in the Department of Art at Cornell University.

David Moore (Syracuse) is a three-time recipient of the Light Work Grant. In 1994 he was awarded the grant to complete False Idols, a study of sacred images (see Contact Sheet 81). His new series, Ephemeral Beings, preserves this mystical theme but focuses on mortality. Historically, the two series could be compared to Northern European art before and after the Reformation. False Idols is overtly religious, comprised of saintly and angelic figures as well as crucifixion scenes. In Ephemeral Beings Moore’s Bruegelesque figures, who may or may not be of our world, seek to remind us of our temporary existence. Moore’s work has been exhibited in New York, San Francisco, Boulder, and Barcelona, Spain. He is an instructor of photography at LeMoyne College in Syracuse.

We congratulate the grant recipients and wish to thank the 1999 grant selection panelists: Ingrid Pollard an instructor of photography at the University of Wales, Newport; Lewis Watts, lecturer in photography and visual studies, the University of California at Berkeley; and artist Keith Johnson of Hamden Connecticut. 

Marianne Stavenhagen

The Light Work Grant exhibition was held in the Light Work Gallery, from June 1 to August 19, 1999.




David Moore (Syracuse, NY) submitted work from his 'Rants and Rituals' series, which depicts, in his words, “Both dark and personal psychological states and symbolic rituals, the meanings of which remain a mystery to me.” The images were made with a large pinhole camera, which Moore built himself out of plywood, with the lens created by making a small hole in a piece of sheet metal. The paper is put directly into the camera, and after being exposed to light, is processed in the darkroom to form a negative image. That image is then contact printed to make a positive print. Moore’s image making process is marked by unpredictability, which he feels “allows for less description and for more suggestion.”

Jessica Heckman (c) 2008


Each year Light Work awards three grants to photographers, critics, or photo-historians who reside in Central New York. The Light Work Grants in Photography program, founded in 1973, is one of the longest-running photography fellowships in the United States. Eligible applicants reside within a fifty-mile radius of Syracuse, NY.

Recipients of the Light Work Grants in Photography are awarded $2,000 each to aid in the continuation of their research and work. Light Work makes these awards to encourage the creation of new work and scholarship in Central New York. The recipients of the Thirty-third Annual Light Work Grants in Photography are Brantley Carroll, ella gant, and David Moore.

Brantley Carroll (Syracuse, NY) submitted work from his series The Whipping Post, which focuses on, in his words, “the legacy of American slavery for which I feel an inextricable connection.” In his artist statement, Carroll tells the story of his father’s embarrassment and shame at being related to Charles
Carroll, who was an original signer of the Declaration of Independence but who also owned a large tobacco plantation and 1,000 slaves. Carroll’s images are created by superimposing historical images, engravings, or text over his own photographs.

Carroll has received a Ford Foundation Fellowship, sponsored by the Ford Foundation and the Department of African American Studies at Syracuse University, as well as a grant from the New York Foundation for the Arts. He has taught courses at Syracuse University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts and at Community Darkrooms.

ella gant (Clinton, NY) used her Light Work Grant to revisit a number of performative installation works and retell these pieces of her evolving story by converting them to large-scale color stills. She explains that, “each moment in our personal history embodies a complex story and every retelling offers a chance to examine and to reconsider the significance and meaning of that experience. The historical or theoretical lens we choose brings into focus our elusive identities and clarifies our daily interactions. ... I have spent my entire life wandering, observing, and collecting ordinary materials from everyday encounters. I cannot help myself from finding the remarkable within the mundane, the curious within the common, the symbolic within the literal.”

gant is chair of the Art Department at Hamilton College and a professor teaching photography and video. Her work has been exhibited nationally and is featured in such permanent collections as the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, and the Museum of Modern Art/Franklin Furnace Artist Book Collection. 

David Moore (Syracuse, NY) submitted work from his Rants and Rituals series, which depicts, in his words, “Both dark and personal psychological states and symbolic rituals, the meanings of which remain a mystery to me.” The images were made with a large pinhole camera, which Moore built himself out of plywood, with the lens created by making a small hole in a piece of sheet metal. The paper is put directly into the camera, and after being exposed to light, is processed in the darkroom to form a negative image. That image is then contact printed to make a positive print. Moore’s image making process is marked by unpredictability, which he feels “allows for less description and for more suggestion.” 

Moore is currently an instructor of photography at LeMoyne College, and his images have been featured in solo and group exhibitions nationwide. His work is included in permanent collections across the country, including at the Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse, Vision North Gallery in San Francisco, and Midtown Y Gallery in New York.

Light Work would like to congratulate all of the winners of the Thirty-third Annual Light Work Grants in Photography and extend a special thank you to our judges: Myra Greene, Keith Johnson, and Angelika Rinnhofer.

Myra Greene is an assistant professor in the Photography Department of Columbia College Chicago. She works in photography, printmaking, and sound, as well as digital production of work. She participated in Light Work’s Artist-in-Residence program in 2004. 

Keith Johnson lives in Hamden, CT, and has been involved in photography since the early ‘70s. In fall 2008 he will be a visiting artist at Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, NY, and he will complete a residency at CEPA Gallery in Buffalo, NY. He is a Connecticut Commission of the Arts fellow. He participated in Light Work’s Artist-in-Residence program in 2005. 

Angelika Rinnhofer participated in Light Work’s Artist-in-Residence program in 2005. She lives and has her artist studio in Beacon, NY. She teaches photography at The Harvey School and works on art photography. She is the recipient of a Kodak European Gold Award and recently received a fellowship in photography from the Dutchess County Arts Council.

Jessica Heckman