Peter Allen Hoffmann (2007)


Peter Allen Hoffmann

Chicago Tribune by Alan Artner

Peter Allen Hoffmann is a New York artist in his late 20s who had his first solo exhibition in Manhattan last year and now is having his first in Chicago, at the Thomas Robertello Gallery. All the pieces are landscapes, drawn or painted, with visible relationships to such modern predecessors as Gustave Courbet, Marsden Hartley, Charles Burchfield, Milton Avery and Arthur Dove.

Hoffmann works small and generally in a vertical rather than horizontal format. Some of the oil paintings might be transcriptions of actual places, even done on the spot. But the drawings, of watercolor and Magic Marker, indicate the more common tendency of abstracting landscapes into crystalline forms that may be subject to a great deal of noodling and/or symmetrical rearrangement. The paintings are strong when they retain a sense of atmosphere within a very small compass. The drawings invariably trade this atmosphere for an early-modern interest in the structures and energies that lie beneath surface appearance, and sometimes one feels the artist over-elaborating or just plain getting caught up in a making of marks that has gone beyond effective naturalistic suggestion. Least successful are the pieces that deploy evocations of nature on either side of a “road” that recedes to infinity. There we feel a rage toward order gets the best of the modest freshness that is really Hoffmann’s forte.
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