Hoffman, for example, continues to
create miniatures—small bronze objects common to her work. In “History
Lesson,” a mini Venus de Milo figure hovers over three tiny warriors,
each wielding a weapon and wearing the uniform of a medieval Crusader.
That the trio is in close proximity to a female figure with her arms
cut off is no accident. Hoffman is apparently referencing many
Crusaders’ penchant for slaughter and pillaging.
In “The Thinker,” the artist begins with
an object depicting Rodin’s famous sculpture but adds a contemporary
twist. Extending from the thinker’s head here is a roadway, topped by a
tiny car, leading to a split-level house, most likely in suburbia. Is
the thinker reflecting on the daily commute and making mortgage
Those two pieces offer just a sampling
of Hoffman’s work, in which she employs varied design strategies. In
“Cycle,” she goes vertical, combining two ladders, a baby and, at the
very top, a unicycle held by a solitary hand. The piece looks like a
tower ready to tip over at any moment. “Estate Sale,” meantime, fills a
living-room space with many objects: a lute and a television set, a
stork and the visage of an ancient Egyptian queen, plus much more.
“Late Arrival,” a wildly imaginative work, has human legs, a tunic on
the upper body and a bird’s head.
Eastern artists: Gail Hoffman’s miniature
bronzes, like “Second Chance” (above) and Ann Welles’ “Frequencies” grace the
walls at Fayetteville’s Limestone Gallery.
Cast Recollections isn’t the
first time Hoffman’s work has appeared locally. She’s displayed her
pieces at Syracuse University, where she teaches in the School of Art
and Design, at the Everson Museum of Art and at other venues. The
current exhibition, however, displays 16 of her works, offering an
opportunity to get a stronger sense of her attention to detail and her
ability to match up objects with a particular space. She keeps
shuffling the deck, moving from the interior scene of “In the Living
Room” to the absurd flavor of “The Departure” to the wall, adorned with
small artifacts, that serves as a backdrop for “Night Games.”
In the other Limestone show Findings, Artifacts,
Welles, curator of two galleries in Corning, sometimes begins with
commonplace objects and then transforms them in her mixed-media works.
In “Eruct,” a mass of string flows from a porcelain opening, and it’s
easy to think of a faucet, a mouth or even another possibility.
“Sojourner” places a large-headed, tiny child in a vessel resembling a
small submarine, with a fuzzy set of strings placed under the vessel.
And “A Transient Nature” blends several elements: a small metal square
placed on a wood background, a rock tied with string and hanging in
The companion pieces “Counting” and
“Numerous” have a different sensibility. In the first work, a digital
print, showing a person facing away from the camera and close to a
large expanse of rocks, interrupts a rudimentary ledger made up of
crossed-off numbers. “Numerous” has the same ledger and centerpiece
with one exception: This time, the person is missing from the photo.
There’s no straight-on narrative; the two pieces are subject to
Other noteworthy works include “Fecund,”
with a mound or nest dotted by images of children, and “Further
Examination,” which realigns a camera’s bellows, placing it right above
a plaster version of a person. In that context, the bellows looks like
an X-ray machine.
Findings, Artifacts displays only
nine of Welles’ works, but that’s enough to introduce her art and to
intrigue viewers. Beyond that, her exhibit and Hoffman’s Cast Recollections complement each other, document varying artistic perspectives and present interesting individual pieces.
Both shows are on display through Nov.
28 at Limestone Gallery, 207 Brooklea Drive, Fayetteville. The gallery
is open Mondays through Fridays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturdays, 10 a.m.
to 2 p.m. For more information, call 632-4445.