Moira Dryer

Art Gallery of York University (AGYU)

IN ONE OF HER FEW PUBLISHED STATEMENTS, reprinted in the catalogue accompanying this survey of her work from the last three years of her life, Moira Dryer (1957-92) claimed “an emotive identity” for her work. This may seem surprising in the face of her cool, witty, and often whimsical paintings, but it shouldn't. Dryer was just as distant from the theory-besotted neo-geo that emerged around the same time as her own work as she was from the chest-thumping demonstrativeness of the neoexpressionism that preceded it. Besides, “emotive” is different from “emotional”; it evokes the actor's task. And good actors know how to project a feeling by playing against its grain: to portray someone in love, for instance, by performing the effort not to betray one's emotion.

Dryer herself named the feelings animating her work as loss and desire. Both are manifest in a painting like Demon Pleasure, 1989,

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