Comments by friends and peers
2000

Jeremy had been to Christ’s College, Cambridge, the same college I attended some years earlier. Studying art there was not an option for either of us: nevertheless, when we met, we felt a kind of bond. Jeremy became one of a small band of artists in the 60s who were intent on a return to the basics in painting and sculpture. We felt at the time a need to cut out the pastoral references and make art that was less ‘arty’, more pure. Jeremy’s work had a clarity and distinctness that was very fresh, and to see this in England at that time was extraordinary, I saw nothing like it until went to America and saw the work of painters like Kenneth Noland or Paul Feeley. Jeremy was pushing hard and he was a stimulating person to be with. His early death was a sad loss to art.

Sir Anthony Caro

 

Jeremy’s approach was cerebral and visual. He read everything he could about art and was a relentless questioner. Sometimes people confused his work with optical art but he was not interested in formulas or safe havens, nor in the prevailing fashions. Jeremy was driven by a need for intense experiences and knowledge. His work shone with passionate intensity and it was this that made it original.

John Hoyland

 

Jeremy Moon thought of his paintings as completely abstract, by abstract he meant non-representational. Ironically, (even though it may not have been apparent at the time) thirty years on, his work is highly representational of the concerns and debates of the time in which they were produced. Furthermore, and what makes him an exceptional artist, is, that his work transcends those conditions which enabled their production. I met Jeremy in the early sixties at St. Martin’s School of Art. We both started there at the same time, I, as a student, he, as a visiting tutor. He showed an interest in my work and I admired his, although, at that time I never realised quite how good it was. We became friends. As an artist and as a teacher he was intelligent, passionate and vulnerable. In each other’s studios we argued about modernism, pictorial representation, content and the conventions (restrictions) of formalism. He insisted his work was purely visual and his preoccupation was colour and he refused to accept his paintings were referential. I insisted that the associations brought to the work were not his and there were values in his work that went far beyond his intentions. Jeremy contextualised his work within the rhetoric of the time. Today, what makes his work so relevant and so valuable to a new generation of artists and viewers, are the associations that can be brought to the work and the critical discourse which surrounds it. The values established within the work provide the possibility of recontextualisation within current fine art debate. His pictures are still refreshingly awkward, they still demand attention, they are still disconcerting, they are still insistent.

Gerard Hemsworth

 

I first met Jeremy in 1966 in the Sculpture Department at St Martin’s School of Art. We stayed friends and colleagues up until his untimely death. He was one of the sharpest artist/observers that I knew. With Jeremy’s departure, the art world lost one of its most able and erudite thinkers and practitioners in contemporary art. In what has become a classic discussion between Jeremy and myself about his painting (taped on October 29th 1973, and published in One magazine, April 1974), two quintessential statements by Jeremy stand out: “…I have done ten years of painting and that is ten years of fantastic living that you can’t express in terms other than the work” and “The point is that art is a moral activity. ..and that the moral, ethical element in it simply derives from the attempt to be truthful and to be honest.” I found Jeremy to be these things both in discussion with him and as an observable characteristic within his work.

Barry Martin

 

Jeremy always seemed to me to be a phenomenon of the 60s, someone who went straight into abstract painting, taking on current pictorial issues without having been through the art school introduction to making art. Coming to painting from another background and encouraged by the bold modernism of Anthony Caro, he went into painting with a directness that was of its time. I lived just a short distance from his home and studio. He had bought a house in Kingston-upon-Thames and built a studio in his garden; John Hoyland had done the same thing a short distance away — I was the third to build a garden studio near to them both. I would look in to check out Jeremy’s studio whilst he was away with his family. Both of our studios had a flat roof with overhead windows and they tended to leak badly and often. It was a time of great productivity for us both; days of confidence and a feeling of certainty that what we were doing mattered — and it did. Youth does not go away if you are a good artist. Jeremy would have gone onto make fine works, and the world would have changed for him, as it changes for everyone, but that would have made little difference to his sense of shape and form and rhythm. Jeremy is still around, through painting and within the spirit that prevails.

Bernard Cohen

 

I still miss Jeremy, not only as a friend, but also as an artist. We talked a lot about painting at a time when as a sculptor, painting seemed leaps ahead. I have never had more important discussions about art with anyone. I followed his development from an advertising salary-man to a full-time painter with awe and admiration. Never was anyone more bitten by the bug - his output was phenomenal. Once he managed to become a full-time painter, he slowed down a bit, but his work progressed in a more assured manner towards a very recognisable style. Painterly discoveries came fast and were always backed up by convincing verbal arguments for taking his work down a particular road. Colour was a driving force — a special yellow would lead to different formal ideas and yet a new order of structuring things. I feel a great sense of relief that his work is being looked at again, and that a younger generation appreciates what to me was among the best things being done at that time.

Phillip King