Marjorie Moore

Categories, Collections, and a Cabinet of Wonder
Thu Oct 7, 1999 - Fri Nov 12, 1999

Marjorie Moore’s paintings and drawings in this exhibit were derived from her interpretation of her collection of toys, dolls, and bric-a-brac. Her recent work had continued the Western tradition of collecting and documenting that arose in the cabinets of wonder, or wunderkammern, in 16th and 17th century Europe.

Enlightenment organizers as Descartes, and Carl van Linne (Linnaeus) designed the Binomial System of Nomenclature and ordered the natural world as we know it today. Moore attempted a reordering of this world. Her interpretations relied upon children’s literature, natural histories, biology texts, and cultural detritus that she collected. Her paintings and drawings questioned the categories and order from which her collections emerged. Moore’s work eroded the boundaries of science, popular culture and art, and new wonders appeared to replace them that questioned our relation to the natural world.

The exhibit at Women & Their Work also incorporated a “Cabinet of Wonder” which housed many of the objects that Moore had animated in her drawings and paintings. Viewers were encouraged to interact with the cabinet–open drawers and examine the curiosities that they find on the shelves. She hoped that this experience would cause the viewer to question the idiosyncratic origins of her private categories and thus question the origins of all categories.