For his second solo exhibition at Freight + Volume, Philadelphia native Peter Allen Hoffmann will present a new sampling of small-scale oil paintings, which explore historical means to a modern end. The new work reveals Hoffmann’s dialogue with aspects of the art historical canon, resulting in a series of individual paintings, each with their own specific history. Disparate as they are, these paintings also function as a collection, where the relationships between them create a forum for the continuation of the conversation.
Hoffmann’s loving attention to surface nuance and brushwork evoke feelings of optimism and nostalgia. Incorporating abstract elements within the framework of representational landscapes, Hoffmann both hides and reveals sycophantic nods to admired masters of yesteryear such as Rembrandt, Church, Duchamp, Dove and Courbet. With the historical source as a departure point, there is always a conscious and unconscious transformation in the resulting painting. While attempting to push each work to its individualized conclusion, they are constantly being filtered through the artist. This filtering process is essentially the glue to the historical parameters of the exhibition.
Proscenium refers to the arch above a theater. The proscenium is the foreground or the frame, which gives emphasis and prominence to the stage. As a metaphor for painting, as opposed to the window or object, the theater suggests both real and constructed space. Events, images, and dialogue occur in this space and the viewer must interpret and synthesize this variety of modes.
In the more emotive but restrained works such as Dark Harbor and Drift, paint is applied sparingly in delicate washes and strokes to create ghost-like effects. In When the Cathedrals Were White, Hoffmann’s penchant for subtlety overcomes the canvas with a romantic tableau, inside of which is a buried shape – a diamond – barely discernable through the painted white gradient. The Stream and Given are more traditional landscapes, whose deep palette and tiny gestures are more pointed references to the legacy of the sublime landscapes to which the work owes.
Peter Allen Hoffmann lives and works in New York. He completed his MFA from Hunter College, New York. Proscenium is Hoffmann’s second New York solo show. His work has also been featured in group and solo exhibitions in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia and Berlin.