|Artwork created during residency.|
|Artwork created prior to residency.|
Residency: March-April 2012
About the Artist:
Judith Hoffman lives in New York City. She attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and holds an MFA from Pratt Institute. Her work has been exhibited at national locations including Art in Odd Places, NY (2011), The Soap Factory, MN (2011), Center for Contemporary Art, NM (2011), Kesting Ray, NY (2010), Art in General, NY (2010), ArtBasel Miami, FL (2009), and Deitch Projects (2006). She has been a resident at the Santa Fe Art Institute, Wayne State University and Vermont Studio Center. Hoffman was nominated for the 2012 Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant.
Architecture and decay are a consistent focus in my work and I began my fellowship by driving around to look at the neighborhoods of Utica. I became fascinated by the shell of a building at the intersection of Albany and Bleeker Street, its’ bombed out interior embodying the city’s trauma. I cast sugar bricks to build a replica of it, planning to expose the sculpture to the elements and document its decay. Simultaneously in the studio, I was experimenting with less-than-literal representations of smoke and mirrors. For example, positioning mundane objects to appear conjoined or using mirrored paper to create a form in space and reflected light on the wall.
I don’t know how I began researching Sears Kit Houses, but as soon as I did, I realized two things. First, that the pre-fabricated, affordable, and stylish mail-order House sold by Sears in the early 1900’s were the first prescription for the American Dream. And second, both knock-offs and originals, of several different versions of these homes dominate Utica today. Sears framed the houses with early growth Cedar, a durable and long-lasting wood. The homes arrived in shipping containers, complete with a 75-page instruction manual, every nail and marked line necessary.
It was a natural transition to conjoin two Sears Kit homes at their spire, one upside-down, replicating in exact detail the 1912 Maytown, at 1/12th its scale. The sculpture, in its finished state, will appear to be constructed entirely of black paper. However, as I built the stick-frame armature for the base house, I found myself interested in its unassembled disorder. Each section is built separately and in its dispersal, contains both the excitement of a form before completion and the devastation of a hurricane, not unlike the building at Albany and Bleeker.