Biography: Peter Hoffer
The surfaces of Peter Hoffer's landscape and abstract paintings are coated with a highly reflective resin varnish. This material was chosen as a means to create tension between a painted surface and refined encapsulation. This packaging of the "objet d'art" stills a moment in space and time and alludes to an item of value, not unlike religious reliquary.
This process of exaggerated surface varnishing was extracted from the historical 19th century practice of Parisian-style Salon exhibition. The "vernissage"; which today is known as the "opening" was a common event among painters to re-varnish or shellac their works. This would make the piece refined and give it the appearance of being new and freshly completed. As it were, if the artists painting did not sell, the painting would travel to the next salon and the process would be repeated. For Hoffer, this suggested an unsold painting would be subject to multiple varnishings, and the outer surface of the painting would eventually obscure the image.
Initial works (1996-1999) were created using traditional methods of varnishing. A damar varnish was applied in multiple layers, often 10 to 15, over an extended period of time. Paint was sometimes applied in between certain successive layers creating a sense of depth and dimension.
It was later (2000) that many of the paintings integrated a synthetic resin surface. This at first was used as an outer shell to the piece. An epoxy and acrylic coating was applied over the damar varnish, stablizing it and allowing for a much thicker doming effect. The surface would now be raised from the painting by 1/8 of an inch to as thick as ½ inch.
Inconsistencies including discoloration and surface cracking are intentional and integral to the resin paintings. Many of these works have surfaces with various anomalies within the mixed resins. Surfaces are often layered off center thereby exaggerating the inconsistent topography. Random scratches, sporadic markings and various abrasions may appear throughout the shell of these particular works.
For the artist, this sets up a necessary balance between the naturalness of the painted and organic landscape and the artificial sense of the precious "objet d'art." A contrast is emphasized between the controlled hand of the artist and the force of the material. In a sense, the painting adopts certain characteristics of the landscape, forever changing and evolving as material breaks down and alters composition.
On several pieces the works were subjected to the extremely cold temperatures of the Quebec winter. The harsh environment etches and stresses the thickly varnished painting prematurely cracking the brittle varnish, and sometimes bleaching and altering the structure of the surface.
Reference is made to theatrical backdrops. The rapid execution of these paintings creates a generalized suggestion of a place or setting. The viewer is both the actor in the scene and becomes a player within a scenario where the trees and landscape are personified and situated within the stages.
A notion of pending drama looms in the err of these works. The time of day or location of the "self" are called into question as the viewer sees beyond the distraction of the glossed surfaces.
This current series of landscapes further exaggerates the separation of scenic perspective through the literal division of the painting's surface. Although the surfaces are divided into 2 or 3 sections, they are in fact assembled and painted together.
When assembled within an exhibition, the separation between each individual piece falls into a chapter. A continuity is created through the play of painted surface, against the parameter of each painting's structure. When one divided painting is positioned next to another, the part is seen as a whole.
Born Nov. 14, 1965. Brantford, Ontario.
These latest paintings are my most recent in the Landscape series. The surfaces of these works, in contrast to the slick glossy finish, are further stressed and worked over.
These surfaces have been marked, scratched, cracked and seared. Like the terrain itself, the surface layers of these works are dynamic, and balance between the various states of season. This random etching of the surface call to task the sense of material "value". The preciousness of the objet d'art, as well as the peripheral landscape represented appears to be rediscovered much like an artifact. It's apparent neglect through time, neglect or abuse, is salvaged and displayed.
The markings on the paintings, inconsistencies in the resin and the unrefined finishing of the canvas structure, allude to the elements found outside the Artist's control. The result invokes a sense of abandon and a hint of a work in transition. Challenging this is the thick high gloss encapsulating surface, slick and precious in its packaging.
My paintings draw attention to areas of the landscape that can be considered "less than spectacular". The paintings are perhaps less serene than works from the past. Being a bit more "painterly", the works fluctuate between "rest" and "discontent", optimistic in anticipation.
1996 M.F.A. Concordia University. Montréal, Québec.
1993 B.F.A. Fine Arts. University of Guelph. Guelph Ontario.
1990 A.O.C.A.Hon's. Ontario College of Art. Toronto, Ontario.
2010 Chase Young Gallery, Boston, MA
2009 Chase Gallery, Boston, MA
2009 Gallery Kerstin Blachke, London
2008 Modern Landscape: A Point of View, Group Exhibition, Chase Gallery, Boston, MA
2005 Gallerie Simon Blais. "EDEN". Montreal
2005 Bau-XI Gallery. Toronto, Ontario
2005 Galerie St-Laurent-Hill. OttawaOntario
2005 Parisien Laundary Exhibition. Montreal Quebec
2004 Sept. 2 – Oct 15. Varosi Museum. Gyor, Budapest, Hungary
2004 Gallery Bau XI. May 29 June 30. Vancouver B.C.
2004 Newzones. "the In Between" March 1 –Apr. 30. Clagary Alberta
2003 Musée de Las Arts de L'Université de Guadalajara. Loto Québec.
2003 Galerie Art Mur. Montreal, Quebec
2003 Galerie Simon Blais, Montreal, Quebec.
2003 "Zones D'Experience" Musee Du Quebec.
2002-03 Centre National d'Exposition de Jonquiere, Quebec
2002 Galerie St-Laurent-Hill. Ottawa, Ont.
2002 "Invitation Au Voyage" Maison de la Culture. Montreal, Que.
2001 Teodora Gallery, Toronto, Ontario.
2001 Solo exhibition. "Distance".Galerie Port- Maurice, Saint-Leonard
2000 Galerie Simon Blais, Montreal.
1999 Galerie Simon Blais. Group Exhibition
1999 Convergence International Arts Festival. Providence, Rhode Island.
1999 Solo exhibition. "Metamorphose". Salle Alfred-Pellan. Laval Québec.
1998 Centre De Créativité Des Salles Du Gesù. Montréal, Québec.
1998 Rotunda Gallery, Kitchener City Hall. Kitchener, Ontario.
1997 Bourget Gallery, Concordia University. Montréal, Québec.
Solo Exhibition, Artifice Gallery. Syracuse, New York.
1996 Group Exhibition. Leonard and Bina Ellen Gallery. Montréal, Québec.
Solo Exhibition, "L'Histoire Presentée". Espace 440. Montréal, Québec.
Installation, Complex Du Canal. Lachine, Québec.
Outdoor Public Exhibition. "Retro Architectural Models", Lachine Québec.
1995 Installation, "Birdgathering". Concordia University. Montréal, Québec.
Graduate Student Exhibition. Concordia University. Montréal, Québec.
1994 Group Exhibition. Carol Freidman Gallery. New York, N.Y.
Solo Exhibition, Artifice Gallery. Syracuse New York.
1993 Solo Exhibition, "Extensions". Zavitz Gallery, University of Guelph. Guelph, Ontario.
Installation. "Extensions". Hamilton Harbourfront. Hamilton, Ontario.
Installation. Laurel Conservation Area. Waterloo. Ontario.
Exhibition of Area Artists. Guelph Civic Museum. Guelph, Ontario.
Installation. Arboritum, Guelph, Ontario.
1992 Group Exhibition, Toronto City Hall.
Solo Exhibition, Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery. Kitchener, Ontario.
Solo Exhibition, "12 Paintings". Zavitz Art Gallery, Guelph, Ontario.
Group Exhibition, "Recent Paintings". McCaul Building. Ontario College of Art.
Group Exhibition, Area Artists. Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery. Kitchener, Ontario.
1991 Group Exhibition. Galerie La Reja. Beausoleil, France.
Solo Exhibition. Waterloo, Public Library. Waterloo, Ontario.
2001 Peoples Choice Award. Montreal, Que.
1999 Conseil des Arts et des Lettres du Québec. Bourses aux Artistes.
1991 Odette Scholarship Award. Toronto, Ontario.
Experimental Arts Award. Ontario College of Art.
Sir Edmund Walker Award. Ontario College of Art
April 2005. Eye (Toronto) Arts Review
Autumn 2004. Preston.Cuative& Company publishing
September 2003, ICI Montreal
July, 2003. Contemporary Canadian Literature. McGill University Press
Jan. 2001. L'Art dans la Ville.Bibliotheque Nationale du Canada
March 17, 2001. Montreal Gazette. Montreal, Quebec
October 22, 2000. Montreal Gazette. Montreal, Quebec
August 25, 2000. Brantford Expositor, Brantford, Ontario
June 10-13 1999. The Providence Journal. Providence, Rhode Island.
June 1999. East Side Monthly. Providence, R.I.
June 12, 1999. The Boston Globe.Boston, Mass.
May 24, 1999. The Providence Journal.Providence, R.I.
July 11, 1998. The Montreal Gazette. Montreal.
May 22, 1998. The Cambridge Reporter. Cambidge,Ontario.
February 1998. Overdrive.Lowell Arkansas.
December1997. France Routes. Paris, France
December 1997, Motor Truck. Toronto.
January 1996. Aujourd'hui Credo, Montreal.
COLLECTIONS & COMMISSIONS
Musée des Bauxs' Arts, Montréal Musée Du Québec. Québec City.
Galerie Simon Blais Queen Elizebeth Hotel. Mtl.
Fidelity Investments Hydro Quebec.
Banque National Merrill Lynch . New York
Michelin Canada Inc. Mayfair Canada Inc
Liebherr Canada Inc. Quebecor Inc.
Waterloo County Board of Education Kitchener- Waterloo Art Gallery
Union Gas Ltd. Loto Quebec
Cirque du Soleil Influence Marketing
Ville de Laval, Quebec Sequel Process Designs