David R. Mooney’s Statement
These images represent the figurative pieces that have regularly resurfaced among more abstract works. All three were woven using slit tapestry technique. Clifford McIver Leftwich, a private commission, reflects the subject’s interest in bringing together images from different stages in his life realized in the manner of traditional European narrative tapestry. Mabel and Frances, my great aunt and grandmother, derives from a photograph dated 1940. The photo reveals much of their relationship. Ten years older, Mabel, on the left, was an anchor for Frances in what evidence reveals to have been a rocky childhood for Frances. They continued to be close until Mabel’s death in 1985 at age 93.
Border Fragment represents my return to tapestry weaving after more than twenty-five years of composing sound-based music. It began as a study for a large scale work currently in progress. It also reflects my many years as a cyclist. Both works represent a look back to tapestries woven in Belgium in the 16th Century. Borders are an important aspect of these works, often symbolizing, sometimes rather obliquely, the story told in the main image. Border Fragment suggests the remains of something larger, perhaps a missing Lost Cyclist tapestry series. Here we see the cyclist riding toward some kind of rift in the fabric of time and space.
David R. Mooney’s Biography
As a child tapestries in the local museum fascinated me; the texture and look of them, that weird flat prospective, and most of all, the faces, real and individualized. Later in college a good friend in the art department was studying weaving. Not an art student myself, I nevertheless found myself spending time in the school’s weaving studio where I became a sort of general factotum assisting students in dressing looms and the like. My time in the studio and a later weaving workshop in Greece are the only training I have received. At the same time, personal experiences pushed me toward working in a visual format. The coincidence of a windfall of cash at the moment a weaving supply store was selling a used sixty inch upright tapestry loom settled the matter. My goal quickly became one of acquiring the skills to weave recognizable images of people.
In more recent years, hearing loss and a growing disdain for working with electronic technology have brought me back to tapestry. My current interest is to interpret images of people based on old snapshots. These images, preferably informal, often capture much about the subjects and the time in which the photographs were taken. They offer rich ground for interpretive work. My return to this work with a much greater depth of experience than back in the 1970s and ’80s promises to be both challenging and personally rewarding. And I’m still using that sixty inch upright tapestry loom purchased in 1973.