James Hoff: I’m Already a Has-Been exhibition / VI, VII, Oslo
August 31 — December 5, 2012
For his first exhibition at VI, VII, American artist, writer and editor James Hoff presents two groups of paintings based around language, and abstraction as a culture-bound illness.
One set of paintings tries to imagine a visual counterpart for syndromes that enter language through specific geographic contexts as the outcome of locally existing phenomena and paranoia—Nigerian ‘Brain Fag’ syndrome for example—formulating abstraction as a cultural malady that is linguistically spread.
A second set of works is based on drawings found at stationary stores in cities like Oslo and New York, casually and communally scribbled onto notepads when customers were testing their pens.
In these works, the scratch pad functions as a surrogate for abstraction illustrating the collective pathos of the community from which they were born. All of this, of course, goes back to Freud and can be traced through the Dadaist affinity with automatic writing and the very imperfect science of twentieth century gestalt theory which used mark-making as a way to determine cognitive skills, sanity and mental health.
In preparing this exhibition, the artist chose to include new works not previously addressed in this press release. The works were composed by means of flocking the areas left exposed after a first-pass tearing away at the shrink wrap around pre-fabricated canvases, freezing with small colored fibers set into wet paint, the exact moment the canvas is about to be freed to be painted on. In this sense each of these partially flocked works is a still life, soft to the touch, that documents the innate and every everyday activity of unwrapping a package. (via Contemporary Art Daily)
Images courtesy of VI, VII, Oslo. Photos by Jon Benjamin Tallerås.