Review: New work by Miro Hoffman_lowres


Landscapes are an ancient genre dating back to Europe's Stone Age cave paintings, but Miro Hoffman's canvases at 5 Press Gallery reflect more current and local concerns. Referencing both urban farming and art history, they suggest that what we call "sense of place" results from a fusion of aspiration, aesthetics and nature. For instance, Veggi Farms III depicts a community garden designed to provide work for the Vietnamese residents of New Orleans East who were affected by the BP oil disaster. Sparkling with crisp forms and colors, it whimsically exudes the aspirations of the garden's creators. Similar qualities appear in Press Street Gardens, where students learn to grow produce to be sold to local restaurants. Andi's Permaculture Garden, pictured, a view of the artist's father's backyard, is more personal, but the scientifically and socially innovative tone of all of these scenes makes them very different from traditional landscapes. A recent artist in residence at the Joan Mitchell Center, Hoffman is a deft colorist who uses a kind of abstract shorthand to create quasi-realistic landscapes that reflect the post-Katrina movement toward community-oriented visual art.   How we see our surroundings is something we take for granted, but Albert Einstein revealed that light actually is energy transmitted in waves and particles that our mental processes shape into recognizable everyday reality. Jake Fried's Brain Lapse — a psychedelic video animation cobbled from ink, Wite-Out and coffee showing at the UNO-St. Claude Gallery— provides intriguing parallels to Einstein's mental construction-deconstruction hypothesis. But The Blown Town in Tea, a mythico-surreal video animation by Japanese artist Saigo No Shudan, depicts a surreal fable in which an elderly savant levitates a bowl into the hands of a nubile maiden who vanishes into its otherworldly contents, recalling Einstein's description of quantum entanglement: "spooky action happening at a distance." Curated by Dan Rule, these and others provide a colorful sampling of some of the more intriguing experimental animations being made in the world.