"I just drew pictures all the time as a kid and I could do it better than anyone else. It just kind of came naturally, drawing and painting," he said, explaining why he chose art. As a child growing up during the World War II years, he had a special fascination with drawing airplanes and ships.
Moss studied art at West Virginia University. He received his bachelor's and master's degrees from WVU and taught there for 10 years. Before that, he taught four years at Morgantown High School.
In 1963, during his tenure at WVU as an art instructor, he won first prize in the Centennial Commission's art and sculpture contest for "West Virginia Moon" -- made out of a few boards, some paint and an old screen door.
At that time, Moss said that although he intended for his piece to be "a quiet picture," it created a storm of controversy that caused a record-breaking 3,000 people to attend the first day of its exhibit in Huntington, and 15,000 people during the length of the exhibit.
"Any painting that stirs people to the heights of expression now being made is an unqualified success," Moss was quoted in a newspaper account at the time.
He was happy to learn that "West Virginia Moon" is part of the permanent collection at the West Virginia State Museum. He said that he created a piece named "West Virginia New Moon" that represented West Virginia in an exhibit sponsored by the American Federation of Arts that traveled for two years. Moss is fond of the piece and is considering donating it to the state.
In 1970, Moss began a 28-year tenure at the University of Delaware, as director of the Department of Art. He also was honored as an artist fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Center for Advanced Visual Studies in 1973, 1985, and 1987-88.
The installation of "Wind Torn" at the Clay Center was completed by Jeff Fetty, an award-winning artist-blacksmith from Spencer.
Reach Judy E. Hamilton at judy.hamil...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1230.