Hans Hoffman - an Artist in Constant Evolution by Jeannine Cook

From his early exposure to Cubism and Fauvism, Hans Hoffman evolved through a lifetime of experimenting in painting to an extraordinarily inventive approach to creating art that is often as relevant today as it was when it was created in the 1960s. Seeing his evolution in the large exhibition, ”Hans Hoffman - The Nature of Abstraction” at BAMPFA, Berkeley, reinforces my own belief in each artist’s need, and capacity, to remain open and flexible to growth and change.

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Allusive abstractions by Jeannine Cook

During a time when I seem to be doing everything except painting and drawing, I still find myself staring out of the window at the wonderful, wide salt marshes and seeing all sorts of magical images which I would love to capture.

Because the clouds and the light on the marshes are so fleeting and ever-changing, they require a gestural, allusive approach to catch their essence and somehow record it on paper. In this approach, it is really the viewer who needs to "fill in" the details, bringing his or her own experience and sensations to complement the art on view. Here on the Georgia coast, I think most people are deeply aware of the almost hypnotic beauty of these salt marshes, so they would readily understand such an approach to depicting these scenes.

Creighton evening.jpg

At the same time, as I gaze out at the marshes, I find myself watching for the abstract underpinnings of the landscape. The play of light and shade can belie the apparent realism of the scene and this interplay can become a valuable under-structure for a painting or drawing. These values can be used to ensure a strong composition of interlocking shapes. So I try to train myself to watch for these allusive aspects which can pitch into abstraction without warning. It is a fun game to play, even if I can't put them on paper at present!