Moir Clements (1924-2015), posthumous collaboration with Mel Day, 2017, 5′ 7″ (unframed), digital pigment print, graphite, gaffer tape (photo credit: Tara de la Garza)


Exhibition image for Love & Longing, a show I curated at Root Division in San Francisco, CA.

Moir Clements (1924-2015) was a British artist, a Warden in London during World War II, and

my grandmother. She painted scenes from all parts of the British Isles, always in oil paint, and

often from the front of her motor caravan. Early in her career she became discouraged after her

work was repeatedly rejected from exhibitions. She never felt justified calling herself an artist,

and, indeed, developed an acerbic disdain for the contemporary British art establishment.

Alongside personal and artistic insecurities and longings (she lost both parents at a young age),

her greatest loss was her failing sight. Moir, as she liked to be called, collaborated with her

grandson, my cousin Laurence Upton, to create a series of paintings. He painted them, according

to her verbal instructions and visual memory—using yellow heavily as the color she could

see most clearly. At Root Division, lying by one of these collaborative paintings is a photograph

of Moir’s worn-down fuchsia Staedtler pencil. She was the last person to use this pencil until I

used it to sign her name posthumously. She was always an artist and is deeply loved.