Arctic Circle Painting by Esther Hoflick

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Arctic Circle

Esther Hoflick


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About The Artwork

This circular painting is oil on acrylic velum, mounted on wooden panel. My new work, circular in format, is considering natural - geometric- crystallization, as represented by ice. Suggesting an ambiguity between human intervention and natural process, the paintings depict a place in the natural world where the geometric is not man-made. Ice, in current times is indicative of the environmental crisis, of the shrinking arctic, but also a metaphor for winter and for slowing down. The 'arctic circles' are purposing a naturally occurring wisdom within the landscape. Suggesting an ambiguity that, however unlikely, given time, could self-clarify. The relationships between reality and fiction, natural and constructed, between waking and dreaming – are mischievously questioned but not defined. My art is about the collective experience and lightheartedly suggests that contemporary landscape may be a direct depiction of our subconscious identity.

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Print:Giclee on Fine Art Paper

Size:10 W x 10 H x 0.1 D in


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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.

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