For this series of research on international artists, I chose a theme of narrative tiles and/or murals. This has proved trickier than I expected, especially as I keep finding excellent and fascinating artists who work in ways that don’t necessarily fall under the heading of tiles/murals. However, given that much of this work is still wall-oriented, I’ve allowed for some flexibility in the definition. An underlying element of this research also is specifically tied to the use of text, which has borne some great fruit.
The first person I’ve chosen to profile is Ruan Hoffmann, a ceramic artist from South Africa, who works mainly with semi-autobiographical imagery and text on plate-like objects. He does some sculpture work as well, which I have seen in searches of his work online, though his website only displays one photo. I love the simple look of the plates and tiles, balanced against the tight shine of his glazing and the crispness of his font choices. I am also intrigued by the separation of text and image, which makes me think of the space between the thought process and living life. Like the act of living juxtaposed against the verbalization of the story of life.
From a review posted on his website, Hoffmann has been working in clay for over 20 years, and recently broke into the American market with a show in New York. He draws his inspiration from personal stories and observations, as well as his own political views. This ties into what I am attempting to get at with my first series of pieces in this program, and the precision of his drawing and arrangement of text and decoration is inspiring and puts a name to some of what I’d like to experiment with over time.