In an exhibit designed to reveal the person through his work, the life of Philip Moose comes into focus in artifacts and paintings.
The exhibition, at the Hickory History Center (also known as the Harper House), takes visitors on a journey through the life of the late Newton-born artist Moose, starting in his days in the United States Army.
Moose was deployed to Bury St. Edmunds, England, at the time of World War II and the green exhibition walls hold sketches from his surroundings while overseas from 1942 to 1945.
A colorful piece that appears to be created with watercolor or gouache paint hangs in the center of his charcoal sketches. The painting is titled “Inside Hut 14” and gives visitors a look into Moose’s military barracks.
Sydney Ball, interning curator and an University of Kentucky student, explained that Moose was a radio technician overseas for the Army Air Forces.
Moose later taught art classes at Davidson College and then Queens College in Charlotte. The exhibit features photos of Moose throughout his teaching experience along with his passport for traveling, which was a significant part of his life.
Through his higher education journey, Moose received the Fulbright scholarship which sent him to study in what was then West Germany for a full year. He also spent a month studying in Taiwan.
Moose’s studies abroad section displays his scholarship certificates as well as artifacts including personalized Taiwanese ink stamps.
In 1967, Moose embarked on a trip that took him to Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, the Bahamas, Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Guatemala, the Balkans, Europe (including the Greek islands), Turkey, Morocco, Egypt, India, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, Tahiti, Fiji and more.
In his later years, Moose returned to North Carolina. He settled in Blowing Rock, where he often painted pictures of the mountainous scenery.
Tucked in the right corner of the exhibit is a large painting of the Blue Ridge Mountains sitting on an easel that Moose used. Also featured is the reference picture he used for the piece.
Moose eventually moved back home to Newton, where he lived until he died in 2001. Ball said that the artifacts from Moose’s estate were largely donated by his close friend and neighbor Frank Sherrill.
Lilly Underwood, interning curator and a North Carolina State University student, said the Catawba County Historical Association’s Moose exhibit is unique because it features “behind the scenes” sketches from throughout his life.
Underwood said Moose’s work has been displayed all over the world, but as historic curators, she and Ball wanted to capture the person instead of just his art.
Moose’s artwork has been displayed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Mint Museum in Charlotte, the N.C. Museum of Art and the High Museum of Art in Atlanta.
Underwood and Ball worked together since the beginning of June to curate the exhibition.