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Woodcuts and Thick Screen Prints

Jeremy Hof Woodcuts and Thick Screen Prints

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Jeremy Hof is known for his colourful material practice that blurs the boundaries between painting and sculpture, process and product. For this solo exhibition, he extends these margins into print media by presenting new work created during a research residency at Malaspina.

Hof’s work has always been rooted in abstraction, labour, and form. Although the sculptural use of paint and ink in his work may seem novel, fun, superficial, and accessible to a wide audience, it is the process of his work that leads to a deeper, critical, and provocative understanding of the role of binaries in our society.

Hof speaks about his artistic practice in simple terms: paint is a substance to play with just like ink; abstraction moves the work away from meaning and representation; spending time exploring the physical properties of materials is enjoyable; repetitive layering is a bodily cathartic experience that provides meditative satisfaction.

Rather than paint, Hof has moved on to wood, screens, ink, and paper—the materials of printmaking. Although these are new materials for him, the process and composition of the works in this exhibition are similar to his other work. Hof describes himself as a sculptor in a painter’s body. With this in mind, his transition from painting to printmaking makes sense as sculpture has always been an essential component to the construction of the three dimensional matrix that is necessary to create a print.

This exhibition includes a series of screen prints made from many layers of overlapping ink on paper. Sketches of past and future works are carved into wood, which are then used as matrices for the relief prints that are presented alongside the screen prints.

Squares is an optical pulsating print that oscillates between looking like a two-dimensional grid of squares and a three-dimensional receding corridor. While this work seems to reference Op Art of the mid-twentieth century, it uses the illusion of time and space instead to refer to process and labour.

Of all the works in this exhibition, Thick Screen Prints are the most similar to the layering effects of Hof’s previous work. They contain approximately 700 monochromatic layers of screen printed plastisol ink in stacks of 19 colours. Each layer is hand printed and then dried before the next layer is applied. The layers and colour separations are viewable from the side profile only, the last layer being white. The work essentially disappears in the white frame against the white wall.

Permanently installed into the frame and integrated into the architecture of the space situate Thick Screen Prints within the context of Minimalism. The performance of the act of observation and the viewer’s participation in the work is required. The work becomes theatrical in the sense that the body of the viewer is an integral part of experiencing the work.

Hof’s work is grounded between the historical genres of Abstract Expressionism, Op Art, Process Art, and Minimalism. It’s ironic that his work combines elements of these genres because many of them were rejections of the ones that came before them. The intuitiveness with which Hof approaches his work suggests that the aesthetics and sensibilities of the Western cannon inevitably have had a subconscious affect on the artist. His approach also suggests that the differences between artistic movements are not distinct or mutually exclusive; the areas between things are often not only overlooked, they are often the most interesting.

Curated by Justin Muir

Special thanks to Brian Messini of Proper Design for his collaboration in the production of this work.

 

Jeremy Hof received a BFA from Emily Carr University in 2007. He has had exhibitions at the Art Gallery of Grande Prairie (Grande Prairie), Blanket Contemporary Art (Vancouver), Helen Pitt Gallery (Vancouver), Ottawa Art Gallery (Ottawa), Galerie de l’UQAM (Montreal), Wil Aballe Art Projects (Vancouver), 30g (Saskatoon), The Vancouver Art Gallery (Vancouver), The Commons (Vancouver), Ono Gallery (Oslo), Shudder Art Gallery (Vancouver), and Simon Blais Gallery (Montreal). He was the 2008 recipient of the RBC Canadian Painting Competition Prize and a 2007 semi-finalist of the BMO Financial Group’s 1st Art! Competition. He has been published in the Globe and Mail, Canadian Art, Edmonton Journal, Border Crossings, Vancouver Sun, Flash Art, and Colour Magazine.