Driven by the desire for adventure and discovery, Cobi Moules embraces the beauty of nature all the while shifting its weight through the exaltation of his own existence within, and as part, of it. This is best exemplified by the way he incorporates multiple self-portraits throughout his compositions. The multiplicity of self takes both precedence over, as well as integration into, the landscape creating a world with a sense of excitement, self-worth and play.
The locations of Moules’ compositions are equally important. All of the locations were previously depicted in paintings by the Hudson River School. Through the exploration of the grand American landscape and the reflection on mid-19th century American landscape painting, Moules navigates the parallels between the Hudson River School and the religious ideology that was an integral part of his formative years. Shared throughout both is the elevation of purity, virginity and the honor of sacrificing one’s selfhood for the glory of God. As the Hudson River School artists’ work embodies the overpowering force of God made manifest through nature, so do the religious voices of Moules’ past against the validation of his existence.
Moules states, “As a queer and trans person, I seek to renegotiate my relationship with this upbringing and the act of being told I am ‘unnatural’ through such a Christian lens. I utilize traditional representation as a way of seeking inclusion while disrupting the original narrative. Creating a space for personal significance and a queer and trans presence, the importance becomes the experience of my multiple and overall presence. It is a community of me playing, exploring my 'selves', exploring nature and being part of it.”
Cobi Moules received an MFA in 2010 from The School of The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA. His work has been exhibited nationally including “State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now” at Crystal Bridges Museum of Art, Bentonville, AR, Ogunquit Museum of American Art, Ogunquit, ME, Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis, MN, Institute of Contemporary Art at MECA, Portland, ME, 21c Museum Hotels, Lexington, KY, Leslie Lohman Museum of Art, New York, NY, Wesleyan College, WV, to name a few. Recent awards include the SMFA Traveling Fellowship, Vermont Studio Center Fellowship, Blanche E. Colman Award, Joan Mitchell MFA Grant and SFAI Artist in Residence, Art Santa Fe, NM. Cobi Moules lives and works in Philadelphia, PA.