Here at The Avenue Concept, one of our main goals is to find new and interesting ways to showcase different artists and their work throughout Providence. To that end, INFLUX is a platform for us to bring artists together and open a dialogue within the community.
As writer for The Avenue Concept, I’m excited to bring you another installment in our artist profile series. We welcome your feedback!
Artist Profile: Gordon Moss
Gordon Moss is a local architect, craftsman, carpenter, artist, and owner of Functional Aesthetic Design±Build in Providence. Along with Nidal Fakhouri, who we featured earlier, Gordon is part of the vibrant artist community in the historic Nicholson File Company Mill Complex. “When I moved into this place almost 5 years ago, it was a crazy mess. But over the years, it’s become this amazing, very densely packed group of extremely talented people,” he says.
A love of building
Educated and trained as an architect, Gordon is also a registered and licensed builder in the state of Rhode Island. “I go back and forth between studio work and site construction, which includes architectural millwork, fine finish carpentry, framing, and building residential houses start to finish,” he explains.
“But there’s always these other projects I want to do like a welding project or furniture work, but it’s always building, and somehow for the past 4+ years I’ve been able to jump back and forth, which is really enjoyable.”
INFLUX project: Red Pencil Elbow Grease
The centerpiece of Gordon’s sculpture “Red Pencil Elbow Grease” is a 350-lb. heart pine beam that was salvaged from an old mill that was demolished in 2010 and provided by The Avenue Concept.
Gordon explains: “The idea is that you have this really large, rustic, gnarly timber beam that most people would think isn’t good for anything anymore and you craft it in a way that you’re doing this very fine, technical thing to it to actually make it very beautiful and aesthetically and visually balanced.”
The timber beam is supported at an angle on two legs, one made of wood and one made of steel. “There is a simple balance between the raw, rustic timber and the steel, which is polished to a #8 mirror finish so it will look like chrome,” he adds.
“The steel leg will then gradually fade from totally polished and mirror-smooth at the top to rustic bare metal at the bottom.” Gordon’s expertise as a finish carpenter shines through in the details of the precision miter-beveled sliding dovetail joinery where the legs attach to the beam. “I wouldn’t call it high, fine art by any means, but it’s simple and cleanly done and aesthetically balanced with enough of a concept,” he humbly adds.
“Red Pencil Elbow Grease” is Gordon’s first large-scale public installation and can be found at the corner of Empire and Exchange Streets. We’re all excited to see how the public will interact with the piece.
A deeper vision
Gordon approaches his art from a place of love and respect for the natural lifecycle of things. “I like the idea of taking things that are left to deteriorate and turning them into something better, something beautiful,” explains Gordon. “This complementary nature is how I see Providence—people trying to make it a great city. I think it’s working really well.”
We look forward to seeing more from Gordon in the future!