GEORGE HOFMANN FRAGMENTS / DUCCIO • HOURS • BREVIARY
The Gilded Owl is pleased to present it’s fifth exhibition titled FRAGMENTS; paintings on panel by the artist, George Hofmann. On view in the galleries are 3 bodies of work dating from 2011 & 2012, each of which refer to their respective titles including Duccio, Breviary & Hours. Following are selected works and insight from Hofmann.
“Like most artists, I look to the past – to see how it was done, for inspiration, and for guidance.
Increasingly, in recent years I have looked to the early Renaissance – probably kicked back further than I was looking before by the acquisition of the Duccio Madonna by the Metropolitan Museum some years ago. This simple tiny picture of the Madonna and Child – of which there are many – especially struck home because of the tiny gesture of the child’s raising its finger – a simple gesture, yet a departure, in expression, and a most moving one. How very much feeling there is in Duccio! Even the simplest compositions, like the depiction of Jesus and the fisherman in the National Gallery in Washington, are full of simple, and honest, emotion.
This is belief, and it is found, similarly, in the Books of Hours and Breviaries of the Middle Ages, in the simple color plates of adorations and other depictions in these Psalters, made by humble artists, and meant for clergy and lay alike – so honest, so simple…
Was there another time when such feeling triumphed in art?
I think the Annunciations, in particular, found their way, compositionally, into my work: this is why there is duality in many of my pictures, a right and left side. In thinking about it, it struck me that the improbable meeting of the Heavenly and the Human must have seemed to the artists of the time something so inexplicable as to be almost undepictable. And yet, they tried, in their way, to show these otherworldly creatures coming to the awestruck woman (can we even imagine such an encounter?) who is, for the most part, dumbstruck.
I love the Greeks, and all times, in art, where the form, in its highest development and true feeling merge into one. But in an overly mechanistic and technological age, it seems right to be drawn to those periods in art richest in feeling. And all that I have learned in life about human emotion seems to me to be the richest source, now, for us, in art.”
“This is painting of emotional life – endless, fluid, recurring.
Gradually we become aware of ourselves in life – our experiences run deep, and are not without trial. Eventually awareness dawns – then it is a matter of sorting out. This painting is somewhat of a record of that.
Initially, Abstract Expressionism was a record of primality of emotion. It has to be remembered that many of those artists were born before electric light.
I am exaggerating, but think how, in their lifetimes the life of the psyche raised its profile in the modern world! Freud was only influential in a big way in the post WW2 years, and that was in my own childhood. The real examination of the psyche has been going on almost secretly since then, now discredited, now elevated, but largely unacknowledged.
But the emotionality of life has been showing up more and more in the work of younger artists, and breaking through in older artists.
I try to strip away, as in therapy, all that is extraneous, to lay bare the essential, and maybe, with luck, the beautiful.”
George Hofmann FRAGMENTS will remain open through September at THE GILDED OWL 105 Warren Street Hudson, NY. For a complete list of works and PDF please email firstname.lastname@example.org
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