I was lucky enough to have to head up to ACAD to see the David Hoffo's Show the last day it was open. He remains a creative genius in the realm of illusion and light. It is often eerie to enter such a dark gallery. But in order to use the illumination of reclaimed television sets, it is necessary to paint all the walls black and keep the lights low.It was nice to see such a large collection of his work in one space. I had seen many of the works over the years at various galleries, but to fill the Illingworth Kerr Gallery is phenomenal.
One method to discover how these illusions work is to place your hand in front and behind the angled viewing glass. If you put it in front you would no longer see the image within the space because you would be blocking it from hitting the framed sheet of glass. If you put your the behind the sheet of glass, the image would appear on your hand and not into the interior space comprising the built models and landscapes. I am surprised how far the TV's can be placed from the interior surfaces and at such a high angle and still reflect the light effectively.
I think it would be really amazing to get bunch of Artists together to create a show of works inspired by David Hoffos and using his techniques. My favourite works were more landscape based where something small and eerie happened in the interiors. I really liked the piece with the train and a bit of light happening in the window and of course some of the pieces that I have seen at the Trepanier Baer Gallery years ago like the one with the UFO soaring in to the air as onlooker view from a nearby cliff top. There is also his older body of work featuring people in model spaces, the spaces being very still on their own but with the addition of the looped image brings it some life......... or in order to have some curtains blowing.
This short clip can't do the work justice, very low light and video are not friends;( Amongst all the works in this show there was one piece that stood out for me, it was a piece with a Yacht. It contained a model of a pier in a black mirrored box, there was a yacht that appeared to be floating in the reflection inside. He video taped a model yacht that appeared to slightly roll, like it would in the sea. What strengthened the illusion was the lighting on this model, it looked ripples of water were reflecting on the hull. In addition there was video of the ocean added. All together the elements culminated in an illusion of a yacht in the blackness of night eerily bobbing in the sea. It is breathtaking!
Each piece not only told a story but also revealed another experiment in method of working. The piece above differed from the TV projection pieces in that it was comprised of a 3D sculpture lit outside the mirrored box which became reflected many times in the interior as if it were a projected image.
I like that the work is inviting enough to expose the methods of creating the illusion. There was one piece pin particular that was very tongue and cheek. The scene was of a bored gallery security guard in a Barnett Newman exhibition. Davis Hoffo's used the mirrored interior space by creating only half the pieces like half a triangle and letting the mirror create the rest, very clever. Also when you viewed the pieced directly on and looked straight into the gallery, your face appeared as one of the works on the far wall.
There were a collection of pieces of projections on black shapes which created a spacious feel. Some of these also gave you the eerie feeling that there were living people in the gallery with you. Kinda creepy. In on corner, on the floor with a sitting cat, (on a TV screen) this made me laugh out loud, so good!
Outside the Illingworth Kerr Gallery two friends of mine from the sculpture Faculty had pieces. First was this Self titled piece by Matthew Brunning. I just had to follow the plug and see it turned on.
This is going to look awesome over his bed ;P
Jean Day's sculpture is of a moss covered body that appears to be flying across space, like it was catapulted across the wall. The body is encircled by taxidermic critters crawling all over, it looked super cool. Finally while walking down 17th Ave. to use an expiring Groupon I had for Divine, I passed the Sugar Estate Portrait Gallery and saw the awesome piece, I believe the works are changing daily so if you can saunter on by and see a beautiful painting like the one below.
That is tons of things of beauty to take in on one day, but there is so much more out there. I wish everybody lived in an art bubble in the future. I don't think that is on the Agenda for the New World Order any time soon so drink it up while you can =;P