From left, Ashlyn Bowie and Hanna Averill look at work by abstract artist John Moon while at the mall on Jan. 5. His show “Accent on Abstract: A Tribute to Jackson Pollock,” is on display inside the Maine Mall. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

The Maine Mall is an odd place for an art show. But John Moon needed wall space, and the mall has that in abundance. Since the fall, Moon, a painter from Falmouth, has been showing his abstract-expression canvases in a hallway near Best Buy. “I made all these paintings and needed a place with a lot of white wall space to put them,” he said.

Abstract artist John Moon with his work. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

His exhibition is exactly what its name suggests: “Accent on Abstract: A Tribute to Jackson Pollock.” These are colorful, expressive paintings, very much in the spirit and style of Pollock, known for splashing paint. Moon, 67, is showing a dozen 3-by-7-foot canvases and another that’s 6 feet tall and 12 feet wide, which he built to fit the wall space.

It’s new work, in every way. All the paintings were made in response to the pandemic, since March. Until then, Moon made pictures of landscapes. He never tried making an abstract painting of any kind until this spring. He’s always been interested in Pollock, so he decided to see what it felt like to throw paint at the canvas. These paintings grew out of a fear that he sensed in Maine and across the country related to the pandemic. “There is a lot of fear out there, a lot of division and divisiveness and people looking over their shoulders. It’s just a bad environment. That is what fueled this for me,” he said.

He released bottled-up anxiety by splashing paint across canvases that he laid out on the studio floor below him. He applied a mixture of alkyd enamel and metallic paint using paint sticks as he moved quickly around the canvases, reversing his movements and mixing up his paints and patterns, and applying it from all sides and angles. It was fast-paced, energetic and fun. “It was a tremendous outlet for me. Sensing all the stuff with the pandemic and what it was doing to us, to be able to go into my studio and release that pent-up anxiety and fear was tremendously satisfying.”

“Accent on Abstract” will be on view at least through the end of January, but Moon hopes to keep the show up through the winter.

He started painting after a long career in corporate finance, which he likened to being “chained to a desk.” After he retired, he discovered a creative side within him that he never knew existed. Now, he counts each day as a loss if he doesn’t make something.

“There is this creative urge within all of us, and I very much believe that,” Moon said.

A painting by abstract artist John Moon on display inside the Maine Mall . Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

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