During Net art’s heyday, Dyke Action Machine!, a lesbian interventionist public-art project cofounded by graphic designer and painter Carrie Moyer and photographer Sue Schaffner, released an interactive Web-based work titled Gynadome, 2001. Riffing on the 1970s womyn’s land movement popular among lesbian separatists, Gynadome imagined a post-digital world where “women are Women, the men have been put out to pasture, and computers are just Big Paperweights.”
“Analog Time,” an exhibition of colorful, biomorphic acrylic paintings and collages Moyer made over the past year, likewise plays with the various images and constructs to which a lesbian artist might find herself the leery heir. Spores, fronds, and ovaries—a fertile iconography that conjures up feminist back-to-the-land art—populate Moyer’s sweeping canvases and intimately scaled collages (the latter usually serve as studies for the paintings, but here they’re presented more autonomously). The fabulously titled painting Pet My Leaf, 2020, lays it on particularly thick: In a tangle of hard-edge organic forms and loose aqueous passages, furry, buff-colored “leaves” meet a big, hematic painterly drip accented with glitter. Several of these yonic shapes have skeuomorphic drop shadows, a tongue-in-cheek move that heightens the unholy interpenetration of illusionistic and flat space and analog and digital space. The drop shadow reappears in another leafy scene, Split Infinities, 2020, and is unnaturally affixed to a curling frond stained the color of an egg yolk.
Moyer repurposes and recodes an array of source materials here, including the vegetal flourishes of Art Nouveau, sci-fi-style amoebas and orbs, Georgia O’Keeffe’s eroticizing close crops, Helen Frankenthaler’s wet soak-stains, and decorative media like glitter and glaze. With their richly varied vocabularies and surfaces, Moyer’s orgiastic canvases contain multitudes. Their inner tensions keep them labile and open-ended, making space for all manner of pleasurable encounters.