GRACE

Craig Moran’s boldly patterned abstract paintings are in an exhibition at new Reston Town Center building through May 29.

Appropriating a classic line from the film “Casablanca,” Robert Goudie, chairman of the Greater Reston Arts Center (GRACE) Board of Directors, gleefully announced, “I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.” The friendship that is making Goudie so happy is a partnership between GRACE, Boston Properties with Bozzuto Management and Balducci’s gourmet market, which has brought a new art gallery space to the Signature high-rise building in Reston Town Center. This new satellite gallery, off Signature’s first-floor grand lobby, has been officially branded as the “Greater Reston Arts Center at Signature.”

The new gallery is dedicated to exhibiting the works of local artists. It will offer three exhibitions this year, and four are proposed for 2019. All will be curated by Erica Harrison, GRACE’s associate curator and festival director.

“We immediately saw the potential [of the new gallery] to showcase our local artists,” Lily Siegel, GRACE’s executive director, explained to the large reception crowd gathered at the Signature. She further noted that while GRACE recently has received a great deal of recognition for its exhibitions of nationally known artists, the new gallery space “affirms that we have a wealth of talented artists where we live and work.”

Harrison added, “We are excited to present distinct bodies of work in this unique space.”

Although Moran is now a Washington, D.C., resident, Harrison noted that he grew up in Reston and went to school there, and “he comes full circle with this exhibition.”

Moran, who spoke informally with reception guests, received his Bachelor of Arts degree in English and studio art at the University of Virginia (UVA). He received a fifth-year arts fellowship at UVA and completed a post-baccalaureate in painting and drawing at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Harrison explained that she was attracted by Moran’s boldly patterned abstract paintings with their energetic biomorphic forms, which reminded her of the works of Picasso and Miro but “are all his own.” She also was fascinated by his “unique process,” in which Moran cuts out shapes from a variety of source materials and randomly reassembles them using collage and computer manipulation. Photographing the results, he then rearranges them further with image editing software. Once satisfied, he then “faithfully” recreates these assemblages with paint on canvas.

Comparing Moran’s artwork to the corresponding haiku poems that accompany each piece, she suggested that the essence of both is “cutting” and juxtaposing “disparate ideas and imagery.”

Titled “Craig Moran: Spaced Out,” the exhibition, open to the public, continues through May 29.

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