A bustling schedule filled with international gallery exhibitions is coveted by most working artists. For Craig Mooney ’92, that dream is reality.
The Stowe, Vt., representational oil painter will have his work exhibited in several galleries this fall, including at Enid Lawson Gallery in London; Shain Gallery in Charlotte, N.C.; and Jules Place in Boston.
Mooney’s atmospheric works, which feature elements of science found in the natural world, renderings of human silhouettes, and imagined cityscapes, offer a glimpse into his formative years. Growing up in Manhattan, he was heavily inspired by his father, a physician and amateur artist, as well as by a book about Leonardo da Vinci.
“I was fascinated with da Vinci’s explorations of the human form, and scientific renderings,” recalls Mooney.
At Wheaton, he followed his two passions and majored in biology and minored in studio art, which gave him a well-rounded education, he says. “I studied biology and subjects that weren’t related to art, while also discovering that art history was one of my favorite subjects. It helped me link historical and scientific explanations of art, which can be abstract.”
As he took more art courses, Mooney envisioned a life devoted to creativity and was encouraged by the “pure enjoyment” and freedom he experienced in courses like Professor John Grady’s documentary film course.
“Wheaton was an incubator for me,” says Mooney. “It was supportive and encouraging of divergent paths, and I didn’t feel pressure to choose my vocation while in school.”
After college, he worked in a clinical research laboratory and apprenticed as an editor for the film Remains of the Day before launching a painting career in 2000. His paintings have been shown in galleries from Nashville to Milan, and have been commissioned by New York Hospital, Weill Cornell Medical College, and Condé Nast.
Though Mooney’s résumé boasts an impressive array of galleries and touch on a variety of subject matter, his artistic inspiration remains constant through the years and informs his upcoming exhibitions.
“Communing with nature is essential to my work,” he stresses, highlighting his belief in the important role that universality plays in his process.
“Art allows us to remove ourselves from our current lives and conditions. My work isn’t specific to any place, yet there’s a sense of familiarity amongst viewers,” he says. “My paintings aren’t rooted in an esoteric philosophy; they try to express a mental state of calm and serenity. I think they appeal to people in the process of healing.”