“Is that the original?” one woman asks, before explaining she’s only ever seen the artwork — a colourful streetscape of Prince Rupert’s Frederick Street — in photos.
In person, the vibrant, unexpected hues of red pop from the painting as it looks up the street toward rows of houses. Here, in the exhibit room at the Museum of Northern B.C., it’s on display as part of “Unique Perspectives: Art Works from the Collection of Douglas Moore.”
This is the third time the museum has displayed Moore’s extensive collection.
His last show was in 2003. Fifteen years later, the museum curated the 2018 exhibit from Moore’s wide-ranging collection — some of which still hasn’t been seen by the public, Moore teased the crowd at the reception on May 17.
He’s been collecting for more than 40 years, and although Moore is from Prince Rupert, his artwork comes from all over the world.
“It’s representative of my taste, which is quite eclectic,” Moore said. “I’m a big supporter of all genres of art, so in this show, you’ll see a real mix of First Nations art and non-First Nations art, side by side.”
As people browse the art, they linger by paintings, hand-carved and painted First Nations masks, jewelry, and small cedar baskets.
“I don’t have any art education as such, it’s just something that I was born with, I guess, an intuitive sense about art. I’ve always loved art,” Moore said. He’s been on the board of directors for the museum for 40 years and has picked up pieces on his many travels.
“With every painting I’ve acquired, there’s a story with how I came to choose it.”
Above the guestbook hang three small paintings of colourful streets lined by imaginary homes. He bought them from a young woman who was behind the desk at a Canberra gallery in Australia, years ago. Both were delighted by the sale, the woman having sold three pieces of her art and Moore adding the playful pieces to his treasure trove. It is one of the many stories that accompany the art.
Moore’s two favourite pieces — he can’t choose just one — hang side by side in the exhibit room. The first is the painting of Frederick Street by Joan Mostad and another, “Illumination Night”, by Moore’s friend Richard Ferrugio. Both show residential, suburban life punctuated by the artists’ bright use of colour.
“It’s a painting you could almost walk into,” Moore said of the scene of a porch bathed in pigmented colours.
The show will be open at the Museum of Northern B.C. until June 10.