Cobi Moules’s paintings of landscapes, created from his own travels across the United States, honor the traditions of the “Great American Landscape” as envisioned by the Hudson River School painters. At the same time, Moules’s images challenge the landscape’s literal and metaphorical dominance. Where the Hudson River School landscapes are remote and wild, Moules’s landscapes are heavily populated—by the artist himself. Each scene is full of multiple irreverent, adventurous, and playful self-portraits in identical dress.
By filling his scenes with human figures, Moules attempts to secularize the sublime landscape of the Hudson River School traditions and temper the rigid teachings of his own Christian upbringing. The multiple images of himself also speak to the fluidity of Moules’s identity as a transgendered person. By multiplying himself, he lends weight to his presence in the world—emphatically affirming his authenticity and his right to make his own way.