19 MAY - 31 AUGUST 2006
Rice Gallery is pleased to present Light My Fire by New York-based artist Lisa Hoke. It is the fourth installation in Rice Gallery’s Summer Window series, which features work that can be viewed through the gallery’s front glass wall while the gallery remains closed for the summer.
“I love that initial intoxication of color,” says Hoke. To achieve it in her work she takes massive quantities of cheap everyday materials - plastic cups, paper, rubber bands, zippers, neon drinking straws - and uses them to create epic, color saturated, installations. Her installation at Rice Gallery will employ more than 100,000 strips of curled colored paper on either side of the gallery’s window, creating a wall of hallucinatory, radiating color that completely fills the viewer’s field of vision.
Hoke’s installation is inspired by how light moves through windows as a day wears on and the s-curves of wrought iron fences. Her curls of paper will be glued on their ends to either side of the gallery’s glass wall. The paper will produce a sea of changing color, slowly moving from hot reds, pinks, and oranges to lush blues. Ranging from one inch to six inches in height, the paper curls will create a staggered surface. As light passes through them, their color will darken according to their depth.
It took Hoke and three assistants four solid months to create Light My Fire. She essentially set up a factory in her studio as she and her team curled each one of the 100,000 strips of heavy paper by wrapping it around a dowel. Once the curls were made, Hoke used marker drawings to plot out her color schemes. The drawings became her guide as she laid out each tube of paper and hot glued it to the next, to create 5–foot panels. She then produced the mirror image of each pattern for the other side of the glass, fabricating a total of 96 panels for the Rice project.
In spite of all that work, once Hoke exhibits a piece, she almost always destroys or recycles it. Each project is specific to a site. The unexpected also plays an important role for Hoke – no matter how much you plan, you can never completely imagine the effect a work will have once it is installed. In a piece at The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, Connecticut, she experimented with paper tubes attached inside a small window. The piece resulted not only in an intense experience of color, but also in a camera obscura. At certain times during the day, the trees in front of the museum would be projected through the tubes upside down onto the wall inside. Hoke says, “You can take the simplest thing and find out what potential is locked inside it.” In her explorations of color, simple materials become transcendent.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Lisa Hoke was born in Virginia Beach, Virginia in 1952. She received her BFA from Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia, in 1978, and her BA from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 1974. Hoke’s work has been shown at numerous institutions including the Addison Gallery of American Art, Phillips Academy, Andover, MA; the Museum of Contemporary Art/Denver, Colorado; The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, Connecticut, and the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, Portland, Oregon. In 1996, Hoke received a Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant, and in 1990, she received one of the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art’s (SECCA) Awards in the Visual Arts. Her work is included in the collections of numerous institutions including the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, and The New York Public Library, New York. Lisa Hoke lives and works in New York City.
Photos by Nash Baker © nashbaker.com