Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Artist of the Week

Ezara Hoffman

The idea of allowing the paint, specifically oil paint, to somehow dictate the flow and the feel of a painting in fascinating. The approach can start in many different ways, but for recent graduate of The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Ezara Hoffman, it begins with an object. She studies the object, observes the details, but when it comes time to create she allows the substance of the paint to take over and guide her to completion. The result is magical or as my resident kindergartner so eloquently phrased it, "it's candy!". To her the explosions and streaks and swirls, could not possibly be anything else, but the highest form of pleasure... candy!

As stated, Ezara Hoffman, is a recent graduate of The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. During her time in graduate school she compiled quite a resume of local showings, and since her graduation she participated in group showings around Chicago, including Who Art Thou? at this years Lollapalooza. Currently, she is involved in a collective group showing in Austria entitled Fifths.

Recently, Ezara returned from Austria and answered a few of my questions.

Orange Alert (OA): How would you describe your style of painting?
Ezara Hoffman (EH): I work in oil painting. Oil paint has the fluid quality and dense pigment that attracts me. My paintings reflect the material and the means of making the work. While I paint, I look at objects, sketches and photographs and also I create still-life situations to use as models.

OA: What did you learn about yourself and your work during your time at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago?
EH: During grad school, I made a lot of work. My painting changed as I worked through new concerns and as I saw my work from new perspectives. I felt challenged by the critiques from my teachers and other students, but always, I developed as a result of their comments.

OA: As your work evolves do you find yourself drawn to a specific color pallet? How do you utilize color in your pieces?
EH: Yes and no. Every color has a specific quality and I am concerned with how the colors interact. I am considering using a limited palette for the next paintings, but I cannot decide this until I am sitting in front of the support.

OA: Who are some of your biggest influences artistically?
EH: Recently I have been interested in design. A few weeks ago I saw an amazing Kolo Moser show and also a Sigmar Polke retrospective.

OA: You currently are involved in a group show in Austria as part of their Swingr show called "Fifths". How did you get involved in that show and will you be traveling to Austria?
EH: Actually, I just returned from Austria for the Fifths show. The show is up until the 20th of September when there is a Finissage reception. The opening was wonderful and many people commented that the work was somewhat different from their expectation in a nonprofit 'offspace' show. It is a handsome show with such strong voices from the artists. The show came about after one artist who curates Swingr was in Chicago on a residency last summer and he invited us to participate.

OA: What's next for Ezara Hoffman?
EH: Right now, I am working on new paintings and thinking about still-life and transformation. I am looking forward to seeing the paintings from my new ideas. On Dec 2, I have a solo show reception at Devening Projects and in February I have a solo at the Contemporary Art Workshop.

Bonus Questions:

OA: Coffee? If yes, what is your favorite type of coffee and where is your favorite coffee spot?
EH: When I lived on the northside near Berwyn I spent a lot of time at the coffee shop 'Pause'. Usually, I order regular coffee or sometimes cappuccino, but I am no expert.

OA: Does music ever affect your work? Who are some of your favorite musician currently?
EH: Music is influential. It is best for me to work without music, but I like to listen to music when I am not working. Recently, I've been listening to Jamie Lidell and Wolf Parade.

For more information on Ezara Hoffman please visit her website.

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