Peter Hoffer in 2022

Tree for the Forest
08.07. - 13.08.2022

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Peter Hoffer is known for his textural landscape paintings that employ a variety of mediums and techniques. Trained in both sculpture and painting, Hoffer’s attention to materiality is always evident in his work. He paints directly on wood panel and often leaves part of the surface visible. Hoffer finishes each painting with a clear resin, a material that he began using while studying at Concordia University in Montreal in the mid-1990s.

In a single painting, Hoffer mixes a variety of styles including realism and abstraction. In contrast to his carefully rendered trees, Hoffer’s skies and backgrounds are spontaneous and painterly. To create the effect of light in his most recent paintings, Hoffer applies a single layer of translucent white paint, allowing it to make random patterns on the surface beneath. The resulting cloud-like shapes capture a certain quality of light found in Eastern and Northern Canada.

Peter Hoffer received his BFA from the University of Guelph in painting and sculpture and his MFA from Concordia University in Montreal in sculpture. His works are in many important collections across Canada including Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal and Musée Nationaldes Beaux-Arts du Québec.

“When in a natural setting as in a forest, we are sensitised to our surroundings in a manner that we don’t experience in any urban setting. The silence of a tree, blade of grass or a moss covered stone fill our periphery with a sense of familiarity and comfort. We surrender our senses to a more fundamental contemplative state. I isolate the seemingly insignificant features buried within the setting of this forest and consider aspects of distance and scale. The Forest becomes a Stage, the tree becomes Actors.

Surfaces have been marked, scratched, cracked and seared. Like the terrain itself, the surface layers of these works are dynamic, and balance between the various states of season. This random etching of the surface call to task a questioning of materiality and value. The works fluctuate between rest and discontent.

The preciousness of the objet d’art, as well as the peripheral landscape represented, is rediscovered like an artefact. It’s apparent neglect through time, is salvaged preserved and displayed. The markings on the paintings, inconsistencies in the resin surface, and the unrefined finishing of the canvas structure, allude to elements outside of the Artist’s control. The result invokes a sense of abandon and a hint of a work in transition.As the paintings draw attention to areas of the landscape that can be considered “less than spectacular”, they force the viewer to search for landmarks or meaning within the composition.

Many of my current works centre on a specific tree. Referencing dendrology and the specific genus of a tree. I single out a solitary tree and position it at eye level. There becomes an uncertainty as to the trees dimension. Either we are close to it and it is small, or we are further away, and the tree happens to be massive. Regardless, our confrontation with the tree creates a focus that anthropomorphises the tree itself. Much like a Portrait, the tree is given value beyond an otherwise peripheral foliage existence.”

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