Monday, July 13, 2009

Lisa Hoke: The Gravity of Color

Lisa Hoke: The Gravity of Color, 2008

This exhibit in the New Britain Museum of American Art, New Britain, CT was a Lisa Hoke’s three-dimensional contemporary mural sculpture made of approximately 20,000 clear plastic cups painted with vibrant colors as well as vintage opaque paper cups from a variety of establishments. All cups were attached to the wall with either a grommet or glue. The installation compassed the whole wall on the top of the first floor staircase around the windows and up the inner wall next to the staircase leading to the second floor exhibits.

The above several pictures reveal the jewel, swirling like visual effect with a barrage of colors. Each of the pictures within each sectional color begins its three-dimensional appearance with the multi-layering of cups. The pictures below show this three dimensional effects at a closer point of view:

I first saw this exhibit as I entered the gallery at the New Britain Museum of American Art my eyes were immediately drawn to the wall of colors. My first impression was in awe as to the massive amount of different colors as I thought I was looking at yet another mosaic piece of art. Not so as I got closer to this mural and I noticed that it was plastic and paper cups mounted on the wall in various directions as well as stacked upon themselves for a three-dimensional appearance. The jewel like swirling effect could only be seen from a distance as the colors reflected from the light from the windows and from the exhibit gallery lights. As you stepped closer you could see the masterpiece of what made this effect from only paper cups and paint and assembled to give you this illusion. As I walked up to the first landing, I turned only to find that the exhibit extend up the second set of stairs leading to the second floor exhibits as seen in the picture below:

As I continued to walk through the museum to observe all the other exhibits, my mind kept taking me back to this very exhibit not only for its massiveness, but it ingenuity of the whole exhibit. You visually wanted to keep following the individual colors and the swirls it was creating amongst each section. Adjectives to express my opinion of this exhibit included not only, “Wow, impressive and amazing”, but “simple yet very complex in its entirety” came to mind as I took a very close look at this piece of work.

Lisa Hoke’s biography includes that she was born in Virginia Beach, Virginia in 1952. With not much of an artistic educational background through her youth and studying English in college for her undergraduate degree at the University of North Carolina, she realized that she wanted to be an artist. She then returned to Virginia where she earned her arts degree from the University of Richmond. She has received several art awards as well as a solo exhibition in 1989 at the Rosa Esman Gallery in New York City. Since that time she has been involved in exhibitions between New York and London as well as completing another solo exhibition at the Elizabeth Harris Gallery in New York City. Hoke has also put together four other exhibits of The Gravity of Colors each piece of a series #1 through #4 very distinctive one from another.

In conclusion, what drew me to this piece of art was again another simple, but very complex piece of art. As mentioned before, my mind kept drawing me back to this exhibition as I perused the rest of the museum. As I stood reflecting on this exhibit, it really drew me into wanting to examine it closer and closer. First, as to the simplicity of just paper/plastic cups, but then again as to the swirling effect of each color as the cups were placed in this circular position and then to its three-dimensional effect of taking your eyes to a new level of vision. Also, its massive coloration was extensive, but orderly. It’s methodic, systematic and structural placement of each section of color made for the avoidance of a chaotic and disorganized clutter of color of this exhibit. In fact, it was a pleasure to visualize this exhibit as a simple as well as a complex piece of art.

Work Citied:
Art Inventories:
New Britain Museum of American Art:

1 comment:

  1. Good Jen... I get a clear idea that you were personally drawn to this piece for all the right reasons. You then examined it on its own terms. There is just joy and exuberance in this piece and the pleasure of looking.