Eric Hoffmann: Watercolors
FROM DECEMBER 12, 2006, THROUGH JANUARY 20, 2007, ZABRISKIE GALLERY EXHIBITS A SERIES OF WATERCOLORS BY ERIC HOFFMANN. Hoffmann meticulously renders the simple patterns of bricks and other architectural features of buildings to produce a mixture of cityscape and minimalist abstraction.
Hoffmann’s watercolors are depictions of the sides of windowless buildings. They have a cold calculation to them, from the 20 x 20 inch dimensions to their draftsman-like line quality. The bricks and blank sky overwhelm the square image with order. Though minimal, the pictorial elements are recognizable and almost obsessively explicated. Each brick – and, between the 20 works presented, there are likely millions of bricks – is spelled out exhaustively. Façades cap the sprawling field of bricks, and above this is a wash of monochromatic sky, without evidence of brush or pen. The hyper-detailed images manage to be strangely moody because of the absence of the typical markings of a wall – windows, doors, fire-escapes, etc.
The bricks and moldings are put to work to build something distinctly anti-architectural. The watercolors are not blueprints or photorealist drawings. Though they refer to buildings, they are not about buildings, but rather an endless field of detail and texture. They are an expression of pattern and geometric infinity, chaining abstraction to a surreal objectivism. Hoffmann delights in the ambiguities of objective elements imposed upon minimalist form.
Though the drawings have a precisionistic regularity, no mechanical aid, beyond a straight-edge, was used, and this blurring of man and machine is jarringly affective. The exacting precision allows Hoffmann to masterfully arrange a confrontation between abstraction and depiction.
Eric Hoffmann is a New York-based artist working exclusively on paper. This is his first solo show at Zabriskie Gallery.