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On a cold gray morning in November 1984, he was painting in his studio on Park Avenue and 20th Street when his model smelled smoke. While the two escaped, all of his paintings were destroyed by the fast-moving fire. What might have been a tragedy to some, he regarded as a time to start over, “to be like the phoenix who dies by fire and is resurrected.”

He left New York and began a nine year odyssey that took him to the hills of California, the deserts of New Mexico, major cities in Europe and finally to Miami Beach where, he said, the art scene was burgeoning, “the light was beautifully overexposed,” and where, most important, his beloved grandmother Frieda lived.

The work he produced in Florida not only earned him praise for its technical abilities but also reflected his own deepest inner struggles and beliefs. In Artspeak magazine in 1989, Sidney Gilbert wrote of the “majestic ‘ There Was No Grass on the Other Side,’ which appears to depict a netherworld beyond life,” and of “the sureness of his draftsmanship, the brilliant beauty of his colors, the fullness of his forms.”

Faith Power and Torment

In the Miami Herald in 1992, the critic Jim Tommaney said Moser “has created a world of faith and power and torment” with views of “time and timelessness, depletion and renewal, despair and hope that mirror and illustrate the reality of the human soul.”

It is to no lesser subject that Moser is now turning. After arriving in Scarsdale in December, he started working on “Into the Mystery,” a five-part series of 125 oil paintings, charcoal drawings, wood carvings and even several poems that, he explained, reveal the progression from psychological and spiritual subjugation to revelation and freedom.”

“Part I, ‘Boundaries,’ which is completed and exhibited, reveals man caught within his own self-imposed limitations,” he said. One of the paintings in the series, for example, is “Bound by a False Beast,” which depicts a figure in a cagelike structure and refers to the time when the artist felt trapped by overcommercialization of his work. “Part 2, ‘Embarkation,’ which I have just begun, “he added,”chronicles the beginning passage into the unexplored regions of the psyche. Part 3, ‘Abyss,’ examines hidden encounters with unknown forces and events.

“Part 4, ‘Transmutation,’ recounts the death and rebirth passage of the soul. And Part 5, ‘Reemergence,’ documents the return voyage back to the created world.”

The journey represented by “Into the Mystery” is a personal one, but Moser said the works will have an archetypal quality that will touch the viewers. Audiences, he said, are tired of trendy art that may have visual appeal but insufficient substance to evoke emotion or awe.

“The role of the artist is to inspire,” he said. “We’ve had enough of existential chic, enough of deliberate meaninglessness. The artist’s role should be to provide vision, to provide possibilities.”

“There are many people out there who are afraid to change, afraid to make their own journeys ‘into the mystery.’ Through my work, I hope to show them the possibilities that lie within their own lives.”

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