Esther Hoflick

Esther Hoflick

Montreal, QC, Canada

About Esther Hoflick

My practice is an exploration of re-enchantment and what it means, on a phenomenological level, to be human. The focus of my artistic investigations throughout my MFA has been centered around perception and our relationship to our physical world. My interest in perception is motivated not only by my fascination with the potential animism of the physical world, but equally by my captivation with the relationship between nonsense and meaning.
Significantly for me, I see these relationships as chiasmic - as continuums, not bifurcations. Merleau-Ponty explains the chiasm through the metaphor of holding one’s own hand, the external sensations and internal perceptions are intertwined, inextricable.

Further, I’ve been interested in theories which suggest that contemporary art discourses seem to be re-enchanted by an old idea of the kinship between art and a belief in the animism of the physical world. Ideas of animism and a chiasmic awareness of ourselves within our environment continue to be relevant today in relation to New Materialisms. New Materialist theories are environmentalist and feminist ways of interpreting the agency of the material world through language and scientific investigation. For example, these theories explain that the differentiation between humans and objects, or between words and meanings, are not simple dualities but complicated interrelations between internal and external sensations and perceptions.

My paintings use the malleability of visual language to address the ambiguities of perception. Watercolour on plaster, reminiscent of fresco, evokes religious and spiritualist painting histories which were entangled in an enchantment or animism of the physical world. The absorbency of the surface speaks about the permeability of the veil between internal perceptions and the external world. The small found objects function as playful and ambiguous punctuation marks in a conversation that the paintings seem to have amongst themselves.
The process of working with these materials is also enmeshed in metaphor. The ease with which I sand or erase the painted marks allows the integration of a comradery with uncertainty. It is a malleable decision-making process where the composition reveals itself gradually, where I can develop a sense of trust that the materials are working with me. It is almost as if the paint and the surface have some say, some potential agency equal to my own. By sanding, I’m allowing for a process of undefining, allowing the materials to speak in ambiguities.

The idea of “Unnaming,” is central to my interpretation of New Materialisms. As opposed to semiotics which rely on the separation and categorization of objects and subjects, New Materialisms speak about quantum mechanics, and string theory. These theories suggest that the nature of our existence is not separable into parts, but infinite. New Materialisms therefore disagree with the separation of subject and object. For me, this means that objects need to be unnamed. The paintings are decidedly not titled. The lack of titles allows for the viewer’s perceptions of the paintings to be chiasmic, to be undefined.

My practice is a consideration of our perceptions of ourselves in space, and an attempt to acknowledge the continuous and intertwined nature of that relationship. I wonder about ourselves and our perceptions as enmeshed within our environment and I’m enchanted by not knowing where, on that continuum, meaning truly resides.



2017-2019 Masters of Fine Arts - Univesrity of Ottawa, Ottawa Ontario, Canada.
2004-2007 Baccalaureate of Arts, Honours Program, (majoring in Studio Art, minoring in English Literature & graduating with distinction), University of Guelph, Guelph Ontario

2008 Haliburton School of the Arts, Post Graduate Certificate- Expressive Arts, Haliburton, ON

2010 Haliburton School of the Arts, Business for Artists, Haliburton, ON

2012-2013 Centre St. Louis, French as a second Language, Montreal, QC



2019 Teaching Assistant, ART3917, Painting & Source II, with Martin Golland, University of Ottawa
2018 Teaching Assistant, ART2170 19th Century Art, with Celina Jeffery, University of Ottawa
2018 Professional Internship as Teaching Assistant, ART 3917 Painting and Source: Narrative and Series, with Martin Golland, University of Ottawa
2018 Teaching Assistant, ART 4987 Professional Practices, with Andrew Wright, University of Ottawa
2017 RIMAV, Artist Talk, UQO, Gatineau, QC
2017 Teaching Assistant, ART 3180 Art After Modernism with Celina Jeffery, University of Ottawa
2008- 2017 The Living Art Room, Owner & Instructor, Guelph, ON and Montreal, QC.
2016 Artist Talk, Galerie D'art LSB, Montreal QC,
2013- 2016 The Yellow Door, Painting Instructor, Montreal, QC
2014- 2016 Artbomb, Curator, Montreal, QC
2014- 2015 Night Owl Contemporary, Curator, Montreal, QC.
2010-2011 Kloepfer Gallery, Technical Assistant, Guelph, ON
2008-2011 Pablo's School of Art, Painting and Drawing Instructor, Guelph, ON
2009-2011 Don Russell, Artist Assistant, Guelph, ON
2009-2010 Homewood Centre, Comprehensive Psychiatric Care Program - Artistic Facilitator, Guelph, ON
2007 John Brown (Painting), Artist Assistant, Toronto, ON
2003 The Art School of Peterborough, Administrative Assistant, Peterborough, ON
2002 Peter Barron (Printmaking), Artist Assistant, Peterborough, ON
2001 Richard Haymann (Painting), Artist Assistant, Peterborough, ON


2017 Full Scholarship, University of Ottawa, Master's of Fine Arts, Ottawa, ON
2013-14 Jeunes Volontaires Project Grant, Government of Quebec, Montreal QC
2012-13 Language Study Grant, Emploi Quebec, Montreal, QC
2010 Friends of the Arts Tuition Bursary, Haliburton School of the Arts, Haliburton, ON
2004 Entrance Scholarship, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON
2003, 2004 Annual Painting Contest, 1st place, Buckhorn Wildlife Art Festival, Buckhorn ON
2003-2006 Queen Elizabeth Top Tuition Scholarship, Federal Government, Canada.



2019 Unnaming, Karsh Masson Gallery, Ottawa, ON
2016 Drawings of the Yukon, Galerie d’Art LSB, Montreal, QC
2015 She Hill, Warkwarth Pop up Art, Warkwarth, ON
2014 Paintings of the Unseen, Galerie d'Art LSB, Montreal, QC
2010 The Saturna Landscapes, Sasquatch Art Centre, Keene, ON


2019 SWAP, Audain Gallery, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC
2018 MFA responses, Gallery 115, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON
2017 Paradigm Gallery, with Annie Thibault, University of Ottawa, Ottawa ON
2017 RIMAV, Galerie UQO, Université du Québec en Outaouais, Gatineau, QC
2017 Working Space, Gallery 115, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON
2017 MFA Introduction, Gallery 115, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON
2016 Riverside Arts Festival, Klondike Institute for the Arts, Dawson City, YT
2016 Under 35!, Artotheque, Montreal, QC
2014 Artfetch Featured Collection, Artfetch, Dublin, Ireland.
2013 Miniateures, Espace Project Art Contemporain, Montreal, QC
2013 Articulation, Viva Vida Gallery, Saint-Claire, QC
2011 Hallowed Ground, Culture Days Canada, Ignatious Forest, Guelph, ON.
2011 Art Atm Gallery, Bank on Art, Toronto, ON
2010 Flicker, Peterborough Arts Week, Artspace, Peterborough, ON
2010 SKPK, CS Galleries, Guelph, ON
2010 Landscape, Erieau Partnership Association, Erieau, ON
2010 Insights, Wellington County Museum and Archives, Elora, ON
2009 Artery Gallery Exchange, Artery Gallery, Waterloo, ON
2009 Mediated Communication, Pentimento Gallery, Toronto, ON
2009 Bring to Light, Ed Video Gallery, Guelph, ON, with Nicole Hewat
2008 Art Walk, Artscape, Wychwood Barns, Toronto, ON
2008 Half Pint, Hoot Gallery, Guelph, ON
2008 Square Foot Show, AWOL Gallery, Toronto, ON
2008 Shakespeare Made in Canada, Macdonald Stewart Art Centre, Guelph, ON
2008 Surfacing – Graduate Show, Zavitz Gallery, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON


2019 Esther Hoflick exhibits in Karsh-Masson, Le Droit, The Arts Team, Ottawa, ON
2014 Mordicus, La Paperasserie, Tolouse, France.
2012 Open Door, Publication of Contemporary Ontarian artists, Cambridge, ON, by Craig Musselman
2009 Bringing Issues of Urban Landscapes to the Surface, review by Bronwyn Roe,The Ontarian (Guelph)
2008 Take Over, review by Richard Laurin, The Echo, Guelph Ontario.