How to represent forty years of a gallery and the artists it has represented and shown? Rhona Hoffman Gallery is celebrating its forty years through three exhibitions of artists the gallery has shown over the years. Rhona Hoffman 40 years Part 2: Gender. Race. Identity showcases fifty pieces from eighteen artists, each with one to four pieces. At first Part 2 of this forty-year celebration was underwhelming: Is not all art on some level going to touch upon an aspect of either gender, or race or identity? In fairness, each of the artists in the show state that some aspect of their work is focused on either race, or gender or identity. Yet, to this observer, the works shown neither illumined, nor clarified, nor troubled gender, race, and identity. What I saw presented what I expected to see about gender, race and identity.
I realized this was partly so because no matter how old these pieces were this was all contemporary to me.
This is the art of my time, my culture. Mike Glier’s “Men at home: John, and “Men at Home: Jeremy” are brightly colored sketchily painted figures. I lingered upon the
se striking images that catch moments in the motion of vacuuming and the blending of a drink. Lorna Simpson’s untitled Ebony Collages, 2013, faces with waves of color floating around the faces captured my gaze. Also, Revolutionary Woman left me contemplating femininity. All the works shown had a certain power. The show consists of compelling, beautiful, and evocative work, if any of the pieces originally illumined or troubled gender, race, or identity, this was no longer the case. Now they only reflect what is common place and of our time. This isn’t insignificant for a gallery’s retrospective of its last forty years: Rhona Hoffman Gallery demonstrates it has had its fingers on the pulse of our time.
Larry E. Kamphausen
Rev. Larry E. Kamphausen, OJCR is an icon painter, theologian, writer, ordained minister, and goth. Larry also writes for the dark alternative Kilter Magazine. He has shown his work at the now defunct Gallery B1E and the Rogers Park Art Gallery
Volume 31 number 3 January / February 2017 pp 36