Homage to Kelly Moore

“holy ground
is not where
only wondrous things happen
holy ground is where
the good and the bad meet
like a cosmic
head on collision
creating one
big soul
from the shattered pieces
of obliterated


                    - Kelly Moore, 2016

     Contemporary American artist and poet Kelly Moore chose to site his practice in a location that allowed him to directly connect to the spirits and elemental forces of place that shape his work. Until early 2017, his studio was a ramshackle, three-sided shed situated among the flea market stalls on the Tesuque Pueblo Indian Reservation north of Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA. He named it “The Dark Bird Palace,”a reflection of the creatures that inhabit both his environs and his psyche.

     When the flea market closed in the winter of 2016 due to impending commercial development of the site into a hotel-casino complex, and it seemed that Moore spent many months struggling to adjust to the requirement of moving his studio indoors and to the commercial art gallery district of Canyon Road in Santa Fe. 

     I wonder if he is still coming to terms with the forced relocation, as Moore’s work is so often coloured by his visceral connection to the resonant, living New Mexico landscape that colours his life, his art, his writing and his dreams? I sense that he is inhabited by that wild place as much as he inhabits it. That feeling of being in a timeless space of expansive joy resides and resonates deep within me, too.

(NOTE, September 2020 - Kelly Moore has now happily left behind the confines of Canyon Road and moved to a place of his own in the high desert wilderness outside Santa Fe, NM. I hope he makes lots of noise, writes his truth and creates more brilliant art.)

(see more of Kelly Moore's art and writing at www.kellymoore.net)

“Concrete floors

enclosed metal buildings

heating and air

& artificial lighting

all conspire against me

& the primal connection i feel to nature

when im at the Dark Bird Palace

where i can meditate on the mountain to the East

gaze at the Rockies to the North

contemplate Time

and the vast Caldera to the west

or simply paint like a wild coyote

all day long

inside my increasingly iconoclastic

desert stronghold...”


                  - Kelly Moore, 2016

"Animal Tales" - Kelly Moore, oil on canvas, 2015