I first discovered this artist featured in the online and print magazine,
Beautiful/Decay (A publication I highly recommend for people interested in the underground art scene and enjoy wonderfully beautiful artistic layouts http://beautifuldecay.com/). She is from Germany with a design background and paints in the art scenes of Los Angeles. Hofmann first began her career in advertising and only had a few commissions working with airbrush and murals. However, her passion was always in painting so after a few years she applied and was accepted to a Fine Arts program in Germany. From there she kicked off her artistic career. At first, her paintings may appear kitsch or like an overly ornate photograph. However, the concept behind her work is genuine. I took texts from her website and pasted it below. Please read them and then look at the images of her work. Hofmann’s mediums are usually oil on canvas or print behind acrylic glass.
LAKE OF FIRE Doro Hofmann at Ghettogloss Gallery, Los Angeles 2010The exhibition is curated by Christine Thuy-Anh Vu, 2010.
Excessive, sensual and kaleidoscopic, Hofmann’s image-saturated paintings comprise a meticulous study of the human impulse, desire. Magma-colored jewels and scintillating gold chains erupting from distant galaxies and lavish depictions of imaginary religious icons are some of the multifarious images Hofmann uses to visually construct how human desire motivates action, fantasy, destruction and uncertainty.
Exploring the darker roots of desire in the context of a highly politicized, acquisitive and image-obsessed cosmopolitan consciousness, Hofmann probes at what influences our desires and how these forces drive and/or erode our ability to identify what truly affects our overall wellbeing. Complicating this discussion, Hofman asks whether it is at all necessary to place moral value on desire and the outcomes of pursuing it.
Drawing from present-day media, biblical texts, medieval Roman icons and the works of John Milton, Hofmann’s energetic use of electric colors and exacting hyperrealism creates imagined heavens of hells and hells of heavens. There, the viewer is left to decide where they are, where they want to be, and where they will actually go.
Doro Hofmann is a Columbus Art Foundation Fellow and former master student of internationally acclaimed artist Franz Ackermann. She is a BFA and MFA graduate of the Karlsruhe State Academy of Art and Design in Karlsruhe, Germany and has shown in Germany and the United States. Her work has been exhibited in local art spaces including Pharmaka and the Architecture and Design Museum.
A Subconscious Universe By Christine Thuy-Anh Vu, 2009
Intentionally fashioning overwrought visual universes filled with the excessive spoils of wealth, Doro Hofmann’s oeuvre from the past five years critically examines the socio psychological effects of an oft-innocuous, internal human force: Desire.
In its most positive state, desire inspires and incites us to action. We attempt to self actualize and focus on what fulfills our psychic core. We pursue what we wish to possess or aspire to do or be. In more grim states, however, it can blind and compel us to give chase to what is self-destructive or impalpable, often overextending our hopes and squandering our resources. Through Hofmann’s forceful multimedia approaches and myriad-layered imagery, she examines the darker roots of this compulsion in the context of a highly political, consumerist and image-obsessed cosmopolitan consciousness. Tracking its less than benign effects, Hofmann probes how our desires of what we want and who we would like to be can imbue our actions with misleading direction and predispose us to acquiesce to deceptive external influences. Conversely, we may also unwittingly allow these exterior forces to sway our desires and unfavorably affect who we are and think we should be.
In her two latest series, Lost Icons and Fallen Angels, while visual and conceptual treatments of the contemporary social condition, Hofmann’s works draws the viewer back into time, to a period of chaste religious values and spirituality where modern, misguided desires appear unconnected.
Inspired by her research findings about Italian Renaissance and Byzantine iconic portraiture, the portraits Hofmann created for her Lost Icons series are similar to religious portraiture, employing sumptuous colors, textured fabric and depictions of holy faces that gaze at or beyond the viewer from an elevated plane. While representing the hallowed and revered, Hofmann’s icons also portray what is otherworldly, unattainable and by extension, unreal. The celestial background in Hofmann’s iconic images additionally reveal brilliant galaxies of distorted, glowing jewels, gold chains and modern luxury brand insignias. Thinly veiled illusions, these fabricated cosmos suggest how one’s desires and assumed reality can be deceptive and manufactured by external social sources, like religion, political parties or cultural conventions.
A very secular, however more contemporary, treatment of other Christian devotional painting aesthetics, the Fallen Angels series alludes to the Biblical account of the fall of the archangel Lucifer to perdition. To complicate this conceptual study, Hofmann also considers the 17th Century epic poem, Paradise Lost, by John Milton as inspiration for her series. Like the paintings in Lost Icons, Fallen Angels also uses thematic interplay between ostensibly religious imagery and human desires. Furthering this examination, Hofmann leaves the viewer to question the consequences of submitting to such misguided desires or temptations. While such “fall” would insinuate a bleak infinity of metaphorical fire and brimstone, Hofmann, similar to Milton, leaves to open evaluation if that would actually happen. If we are mislead in our understanding of our world and universe, who is ultimately responsible for our misdeeds? If we fought those who mislead us, as Lucifer did in Paradise Lost, are we blameworthy? And if so, why?
In addition to her paintings, Hofmann uses installation pieces to examine similar themes. Her imposing Lipstick Chapels from 2005 and 2008 are very overt representations of how politics and consumerism employ public methods to transform our impulses, opinions and self-concept. While very effective experiential presentations, Hofmann’s approach to her paintings allows for a more open and flexible evaluation of desire, without the finiteness of a physical space and the visual imposition of a very dominant phallic structure, the lipstick.
The magnetic pull of Hofmann’s works draw the viewer into hyper-realistic environments saturated with overlapping layers and spaces that burst with objects and unabashed figures occupying the liminal state between the absurdly real and the absurdly imagined. Predating her Fallen Angels and Lost Icons Series, Hofmann’s haunting Dream Series presents a visually sparse and melancholic presentation of the psychology of desire. Inspired by the tragic fire of her Los Angeles home in 2005, Hofmann uses shadows and delicate outlines to trace distant memories, much like the outlines of objects she found burnt into the earth after the fire. Exposing the bleak emptiness of want and a dark universe of dreams and memories, Hofmann examines how desires can also extend to connect to the past, but again are mere aspirations to attain impalpable impossibilities.
Although Hofmann frequently compares the effects of religion with contemporary influences like politics and excessive consumerism on desire, the conceptual focal point of her work concerns the bidirectional impact between our individual identities and impressionable desires. By sharing her intricate and insightful social examinations, Hofmann unlocks a subconscious universe to her viewers. There, while many linger dreaming and forget who they really are and their life-given liberties, a fortunate few can walk away on their own, being able to discern dream from reality, truth from falsehoods and distorted caricatures from our true identities. In this state of unadulterated awareness, desire becomes empowerment and a pursuit for what is true. Perhaps, ultimately, such pursuit will lead to actual and lasting fulfillment.
Check out her website for more works
– Celia Yang