Ira Hoffecker
Paintings

Articles Published

- My work has been featured under ART TO COLLECT section in the current (September to December 2016) issue of Canada's art magazine GALLERIES WEST, which is published three times a year in the Western half of Canada.
The article about my work is on page 19, please click on this link:
https://issuu.com/gallerieswest/docs/gwest_fall16

My painting Camp Moschendorf is currently on the Cover of the Jewish Senior Magazine. 

Here is an excerpt of the article:

Portrait of an Artist: Ira Hoffecker

When I strolled into the Zack Gallery at the Jewish Community Centre I was not expecting to be dazzled and awed!  I came face-to-face with stunning paintings and assembled pieces that attracted and puzzled me. The painting on the cover of this Senior Line is called Camp Moschendorf. Ira Hoffecker was born and raised in Germany. She has lived in Victoria, BC since 2004. She is not Jewish and like so many Germans born after World War II, the history of the Nazis and the Holocaust are part of her identity: the identity she explores in this exhibition and in the entirety of her art.

She emphasizes that Germans must never forget, that they must learn from their past and come to terms with the guilt. “As horrible as this guilt and the memory of the Shoah is, Germans must accept it as part of their heritage, as part of their identity instead of trying to forget and trying to suppress he past.” 

 

 

- if you click on this link: you will get directed to an article in June 2016 in the Jewish Independent:

http://www.jewishindependent.ca/exploration-of-identity/

- there were several articles in Germany published for my opening at Galerie Hoffmann Contemporary Art and at the Freiheitshalle Hof, in DIE GLOCKE and HOFER ANZEIGER

- 16 page article in nationwide ARABELLA Art and Architecture Magazine. Ira Hoffecker, THE ARTIST TO COLLECT : http://arabelladesign.com/Ira_Hoffecker_Summer2013.htm


High-spirited artist Ira Hoffecker is an urban explorer with a keen eye for observing the evolution of cities over the centuries. Using multiple layers of paint and resin, integrated with traces of print and scrap metal, Ira creates a visual metaphor of a city's archaeological strata - "the many historic layers of tangible remnants and human impressions that were felt before my own." History in the making. Genius at work.

 

Imagining City Spaces

An Arabella article, written by Kylie Serebrin

A Modern Day Flâneuse

Ira Hoffecker has always been fascinated by the energy and histories of great cities. Having moved 26 times in 31 years, one might describe Ira as a veritable flâneuse – an urban explorer with a keen eye, devoted to drinking in her kaleidoscopic perceptions of pulsating city identities.

Prior to moving to Victoria, BC with her family just under a decade ago, Ira lived a completely different existence. Fluent in German, English, French and Spanish, she lived in Lima, Cusco, Berlin and Hamburg, studied French and Economics in Munich and worked as a translator in Paris. Next, she became a publicist, before being named Head of Marketing for Warner Bros. Germany. After 17 years in the film production industry, Ira became head of her own company that consulted for such studios as Walt Disney and Columbia Pictures.

All the while, Ira was inspired by the art and art history that surrounded her. “The year I spent in Paris was a particularly pivotal year,” she explains, tracing the roots of her desire to create. “Every weekend in Paris was spent visiting galleries and museums, or reading Camus, Proust, Zola and de Beauvoir. I really immersed myself in the city’s artistic identity.” During this time, she also encountered a painting by Anselm Kiefer, whose work dealt with the theme of Germany’s troubled past. “As someone who grew up in post- war Germany, the work spoke to me,” Ira reveals. Moreover, the painting demonstrated to Ira an artist’s ability to articulate the intangible truths and consciousness of a collective group from a particular place, while simultaneously yielding unique meaning for each disparate viewer.

“We all stumble upon certain artists that touch us in this way,” Ira asserts. “Personally, I find myself most affected by artists whose works communicate thought-provoking questions and ideas about real and imagined spaces.” These artists include Anselm Kiefer, Nicolas de Stael, Robert Rauschenberg, Richard Serra, Eduardo Chillida and Franz Kline.

Creating a Sense of Place

When Ira and her husband made the decision to quit their 80-hour-a-week jobs and move to Victoria to raise a family, her discovery of the Vancouver Island School of Art felt fated, and she enrolled. “It was the perfect opportunity to dedicate my life to the arts and to really be there for my children,” Ira notes. Under the superb tutelage of Wendy Welch, John Luna and Xane St. Phillip, Ira cultivated a sophisticated artistic practice that fused her lifelong passions for urban spaces, history and culture. “Fundamentally, my work is inspired by cities and how they work as a whole. I’m also especially occupied by the historic layers of cities and the different identities they have had over centuries.”

Using imprints of metal materials, print transfers and the geometric shapes inherent in urban planning, architecture and maps, Ira’s unique compositional language allows her to create paintings that exist in the delicate space between representation and abstraction. Though Ira paint with a specific place in mind, she encourages her viewers to relinquish literal identification of a given city and surrender to her intangible visualization of the metropolis’s energy, personality and the visceral human experience it arouses.

“I don’t strive to evoke how a city looks, exactly, I want to create a sense of place,” she insists. “I seek to examine the relationship between people and their cities – how various societies influence and transform their environments and vice versa. As such, my paintings are intended to embody how a place felt to me – its atmosphere, attitude and pace, the emotions it awakened and the memories it etched upon me. With the aid of photographs and journals, I translate these stories through colours, lines, shapes and edges.”

Ira’s painting Berlin Alexanderplatz demonstrates this phenomenon. Upon viewing the work, one feels the tension of Berlin’s historical metamorphosis and ‘growing pains.’ The circle within references the Potsdamer Platz, an important public square in Berlin that was destroyed during the war, then transformed into a ‘dead zone’ when divided by the Iron Curtain. Today, it is a thriving marketplace filled with high-rises. “It has changed so often during the centuries, so I tried to capture this palimpsest that shaped Berlin,” Ira explains.

Painting From Memory

When creating such a work, Ira begins by sitting down and thinking deeply about a specific place she knows well and has experienced intensively. Next, she researches all the historic events that have shaped the city and the different functions and ‘personas’ that have defined it over hundreds of years. Only after this protracted period of introspection and investigation does Ira head to her studio to begin painting. “I paint first from memory, then from maps, then from my list of historical events,” she notes.

Ira’s painting process involves using layers of crystal-clear acrylic resin, which physically separate one layer of paint from the previous one, creating a visual depth that allows her painted shapes to float above the canvas. “I conceive of this application of numerous layers of paint and resin as a metaphor for a city’s archaeological strata – the many historic layers of tangible remnants and human impressions that were felt before my own,” she points out. After the paint is applied, Ira scrapes the layers down “to summon the memories of time passing, and the interaction of the city’s forms, in order to reveal stories from the past.” After the paint is scraped, Ira often adds traces of print and scrap metal to evoke urban infrastructure in more literal terms.

While they are wildly commanding, Ira’s topographical memory maps are not exceptionally large, for they become extremely heavy once flooded with numerous layers of resin over 1⁄2 inch layers of wood, making them difficult to pack and transport for shipment. “I would love to create 4 x 8 foot paintings – or even larger – but I would have to hire someone full-time to help me schlep my canvases in and out of the studio!” she remarks with a laugh.

From High Stress Past to High Spirited Present

For the past five years, Ira has worked diligently in her studio while her children are at school. Today, she has sold well over 100 paintings and is represented by 6 significant Canadian galleries. “My journey to become an artist ambled over many years,” she states. “After high school, I knew I was supposed to study something that would lead to a ‘real’ job, so I took a detour marketing movies. But you know what? You will always find your way back to your passion and to what really inspires you, if you want to do it badly enough. I spent two decades doing what I thought I was supposed to do, before I finally acknowledged what I was meant to do.”

Nevertheless, Ira is grateful for the somewhat unorthodox and roundabout way she arrived at her career as a professional artist. “The fact that I came from a very high stress marketing job in the film industry influences my life as an artist in a very positive way. I now appreciate every single moment I get to paint. I doubt I would be as dedicated a painter if I had not come from such a different lifestyle before. The fact that I don’t ever want to return to an office job in a tense environment motivates me. I am acutely aware of what an incredible privilege it is to devote my life to the arts,” she insists.

Canadian Memories in the Making

Now that Ira calls western Canada her home, she is actively dedicated to forging a profound and meaningful connection with this country that she and her family engage with every day. “As my art illuminates, I believe it’s extremely important to appreciate and respect the land one lives on and the people who made that place what it is today. Therefore, I’ve taken courses in Aboriginal History and Canadian Art History in order to gain knowledge and understanding of this wonderful country and the evolution of its spectacular cities. I am so happy I get to spend a part of my life’s journey here,” Ira says.

To this end, she will continue to study the mythological themes of Canadian Aboriginal cultures and the stories that have been handed down on Canadian soil for generations. Just like the world’s great cities, Ira’s future paintings hold the promise of unexpected and thrilling new adventures, discoveries and memories to come!

Don’t miss Ira’s upcoming show at The Front Gallery in Edmonton, AB in October 2013.

2. 2012 - 1/2 page review in daily Victoria newspaper Times Colonist incl. Photo of Kreuzberg II, on November 3rd

http://www.timescolonist.com/entertainment/Abstract+paintings+evoke+urban+Europe/7494129/story.html

Abstract paintings evoke urban Europe

By Robert Amos, Times Colonist November 3, 2012

Abstract paintings have to grab you by painterly means. Ira Hoffecker's do.

Recently, she was an award winner at the Community Arts Council of Greater Victoria's annual show, she took the Juror's Award at the Sooke Fine Art Show and won a $1,000 prize from Opus Framing at the vast Painting on the Edge show in Vancouver. How does she do it?

From across the room, her colours speak with authority. In the past, she has favoured a palette of orange and pink with accents of chartreuse green. Her current show at the McPherson Playhouse has a suite of silver and grey paintings in which a dark turquoise sets the right note. Many of her works seem almost monochrome, though, on closer inspection, the greys are a blend of many different hues. These are not the organic colours of nature but something she picks from the zeitgeist of urban life.

Approaching Hoffecker's canvases - which are not large - you find much more going on at the mark-making level. She is quick to note that she doesn't use brushes but applies her colours with metal spatulas, scraping through the painted layers as she goes. This results in incisive lines at the border of each shape, a neat play between flat planes of colour and their shimmering and decisive edges. Her scraping constantly reveals what has gone before, calling up the poetry of time passing and the interaction of forms.

Gazing into the depths of her Berlin Alexanderplatz series, I could almost hear the drone of bombers flying over the city. Its streets and squares seemed to shift beneath me as I gazed at a circular target below. Hoffecker, who grew up in Munich, would not disagree, but her own view goes much deeper. Her paintings evoke centuries of lives lived in European cities, marks of habitations written over the ever-erased and rewritten palimpsest which is the city.

The artist told me about Potz-dammerplatz in Berlin. It was once a thriving city square that was flattened during the Second World War. Next, it became a "dead zone" when the Berlin Wall passed directly over it. And with the reunification of Germany, it is once again a bustling marketplace. Hoffecker thinks of this as she paints, adjusting the formal principles of her work - the size and shape and colour of each component - while enjoying the play between process and concept.

Hoffecker had another life before coming to Victoria. As a young woman, she worked as a translator near Paris and looked at a lot of art. Then she became a publicist, first as head of marketing for Warner Bros. Germany GMBH and then for other filmmakers in Europe. After 17 years, she was head of a company with 49 employees. When she became a mother, she and her husband made a huge change.

"Being a mother means to be there," she told me. The biggest change was not moving to Victoria but becoming a stay-at-home mom. Then, eight years ago, she decided to make something of her passion for looking at art. To her great good fortune, she found the Vancouver Island School of Art.

The training and challenges provided by Wendy Welch, John Luna and Xane St. Phillip were the making of her, an excellent example of what that school can achieve.

For the past four years, Hof-fecker has worked alone and diligently, putting in days in her studio while the children are at school. By now, she has sold more than 100 paintings and is represented by five galleries outside Victoria. But that's really beside the point. "I paint. I don't market," she reminded me.

Hoffecker is not an emotive "action painter." Her work entails about 80 per cent looking. "I take time to look, stepping back and thinking about it. This shape has to be there - sometimes it takes an hour to make that decision. I take this decision very consciously."

After the paint is applied and scraped, she adds layers of print and even pieces of metal. She is likely to flood this over with pools of crystal-clear acrylic resin. The resin adds depth and transparency, and upon it she can paint further shapes that actually float above the canvas. You seem to be peering into deep realms of memory and imagination, whether or not you know what she was thinking about.

Hoffecker and I spent a long time talking about things, but her paintings speak for themselves. Confident and decisive, they are both decorative and contemplative and can be assumed to refer to a number of things. For now, I'll leave it to you to see why so many people find them deeply satisfying.

Ira Hoffecker's paintings are on show in the lower foyer of the McPherson Theatre, #3 Centennial Square, until Dec. 17 during performances. For an appointment, call 361-0800, ext. 3806 On Saturday, from 12 to 5 p.m., Hoffecker opens her studio at Gallery 1580, 1580 Cook St.

For more information, visit irahoffecker.com

3. 2012 - Cover story in monthly Victoria magazine FOCUS

http://focusonline.ca/?q=node/456

Meditations on urban context

By Aaren Madden, November 2012

Ira Hoffecker’s paintings are inspired by the tension, energy and history of cities.

Before moving to Victoria with her family eight years ago, artist Ira Hoffecker had always lived in large cities: Paris, Lima, Cusco, Berlin, Hamburg. She studied French and Economics in Munich, then in 1984-5, worked as a translator near Paris. Every weekend she was in the city visiting galleries and museums, reading Camus, Proust, Zola, de Beauvoir. “It was my pivotal year,” she says. 

During that year, a painting by Anselm Kiefer, a German artist whose large-scale, often bleak works grapple with Germany’s troubled past, both moved her and impressed on her the significance art could have. Hoffecker recalls, “There was lead and straw, and not much more. And it spoke so much to me.” Growing up in postwar Germany, she explains, “There was nothing to be proud of, just incredible pain.” Kiefer’s painting hinted at what lay beneath the day-to-day strength and humour of her elders, and the extent to which painting was able to articulate collective intangible truths, yet bring personal meaning to each viewer.

“You discover artists that do something to you,” she muses. For her, those working in metal (her own art practice began with the medium) most often strike a chord: Kiefer, Robert Rauschenberg, Richard Serra, Eduardo Chillida. But also, the black and white paintings of Franz Kline. Besides being impressed by these artists’ breadth of media, style and scale, Hoffecker was influenced by “their thoughts about space.”

Urban space is what specifically fascinates Hoffecker, who has moved 26 times in 31 years and continues to be drawn to large cities—“especially,” she says, “European cities where you have old houses that are destroyed and have to be taken down. What do you put in that works with the city?” 

Her practice revolves around such questions, answered in paintings that act as meditations on urban context. As we talk, she leafs through a book on urban planning (one of over 50 in her collection) called Coming from the South by Eduard Bru. Aerial views and maps of cities fly by; the angles, grid and intersections are echoed in the paintings filling her studio. 

They are far from literal, however. “Something I like in my work is to think about cities like a topographic map, but then of course to step back and to also look at [my work] as a painting; to go between the abstraction and representation. What I want is to have created a painting, not a topographic map. So I play with the colours and I play with the shapes,” explains Hoffecker, who though painting for a mere five years, has gallery representation across Canada.

Soon after her arrival from Hamburg, where she and her husband owned a film marketing company, she enrolled at the Vancouver Island School of Art, where she will earn her diploma this spring. At first, her considerations of urban place were non-specific. “Urban Settings” 18, 19 and 20 are a subset in a series of paintings on raw linen with rectangular shapes of varying sizes painted in one or more layers of black, white, cream or grey. Thick, quickly gestured lines add depth and dynamism. Layers of linen applied on top further evoke an urban space in flux. There is a captivating sense of simultaneously erosive and additive energy at work.

With those paintings, “it was more about the material,” says Hoffecker. Now she paints with a certain city in mind and concerns herself with not only the layout of space, but with sense of place. “I don’t want to only bring in how it looks exactly; I want to bring in the atmosphere,” she explains. “There are so many things that come in: how you feel that day, your own memories, experiences.” “Oak Bay Window” (see front cover) is one example. It captures the forward motion of the bustling high street Hoffecker felt on an afternoon when she had a few moments to wander. The text acts as another evocative mark, more than written communication.

Abstraction allows the viewer to take their own route through her paintings—following a crisp, straight line, perhaps, then a series of drips to another undulating surface relief formed from intersecting layers of paint. Most of her current work features layers of clear resin in between levels of paint. The resin in turn carries layers of colour and shape on top that achieve depth and cast shadows, creating a push and pull reminiscent of the tension, energy and history inherent in city spaces. 

“Berlin Alexanderplatz”, a painting that won the 2012 Sooke Fine Arts Show Juror’s Award and a $1000 award at the Painting on the Edge exhibition in Vancouver, shows this. The circle references Potsdamer Platz, an important intersection in Berlin that was destroyed during the war, then split by the Iron Curtain. Today it is a thriving area full of modern high-rises and commerce. “It has changed so often during the centuries,” she says. 

She always works in a series, and “Berlin Alexanderplatz V” is a smaller work in which she resolves some of the technical approaches for the larger work mentioned above. In it, a sharp, straight yellow patch floating diagonally on top of the resin is made more so by its contrast to the muted, organic line of another yellow beneath the resin’s surface.

These conversations are important to Hoffecker. They create the context that makes the painting complete and contribute to the whole. “That’s something I look for in my work. It could be shapes, it could be buildings. They have to communicate,” says Hoffecker.

As is the case with urban spaces. “I am interested in city planning, but about the whole, not about one building. The whole has to work with the city,” she says. Examples? Locally, she finds the Atrium building a prime example of the connection possible with thoughtful architecture realized on a human scale. “Starchitects” often achieve the opposite. “We went to Australia, and of course I booked 14 hours to stay in LA on the way, so we can go to the Museum of Contemporary Art,” she says. Down the street from MOCA loomed Frank Gehry’s Walt Disney Concert Hall. “It might be a masterpiece in architecture, but you know what? It doesn’t fit. You want city planners to think about context. What is around [the building] to make reference to the history. That is something I have always been occupied with,” Hoffecker says. 

Just as well-planned city spaces do, each viewing of Hoffecker’s paintings promises a new set of discoveries and conversations.

 

These and other paintings by Ira Hoffecker are on view at The Gallery at the MAC (along with one at the Royal Theatre) until Dec 17; open during regular performance hours or by appointment by calling 250-361-0800. See www.irahoffecker.com.

4. 2012 - Cover in Art Avenue, a publication of the Federation of Canadian Artists, August 2012

5. 2012  - 1 page in monthly Boulevard Magazine, May 2012

MAY - CUE THE SPRING COLOURS (photo of IN THE PARK III)

After 15 years working on the producion side of the Hollywood movie industry, German born Ira Hoffecker moved to Victoria several years ago and was finally able to focus on her original passion: abstract painting. "A fantastic colourist - her canvases glow with a mix of primary and pastel tones - Hoffecker already has an impressive career underway and shows in galleries as far as Edmonton and Toronto. Inspired by such modernists as Franz Kline and Robert Rauschenberg, Hoffecker manages the tricky feat of being both intellectual and playful via paintings that combine vivid colour fields with decorative patches and textures. For her latest showing at The Gallery at Mattick's Farm, Hoffecker will have about a dozen works in acrylic and resin whose sensuousness may make you yearn for a bowl of fruit salad"

 

6. 2012 Exhibit V - At the Gallery at Mattick's in May 2012

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUu4cjGagRI

 

7. 2011 - Times Colonist, October 15th, 2011

This week I began my walk in Chinatown. Dales Gallery presents the vivid abstract paintings of Ira Hoffecker (537 Fisgard St., 250-383-1522, until Nov. 8). This artist's background in advertising shows she has a sure hand with composition, and a dazzling colour sense. The vivid abstract paintings of Ira Hoffecker would look fantastic in an upscale show home.

8. 2011 Exhibit V - Dales Gallery Opening October 2011

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bHrzmwuSAuk

9. 2010 Exhibit V - Dales Gallery

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EiVJaKJSfwc

10. 2010 Chek News - April 2010

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CSOZQooT-co

11. Review by Debora Alana

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CSOZQooT-co

Urban Settings
Dales Gallery
8 April – 4 May 2010

Ira Hoffecker structures perception. She describes the correspondence between architectural reference and historical elements with expansive plotting, Commuting angular shapes to ideas, Hoffecker incorporates the filtration of deep reflection into her canvases. She bolsters her visions with complex stimulation, considering artists like Nicolas de Stael, Robert Motherwell, Hans Hofmann and Robert Rauschenberg. Her unique discernment references that abstractionist vocabulary, while instilling a fresh spaciousness into her work. Imprints of metal forms encourage an industrial orientation within the canvas plane that builds the agenda for the work. Features, such as text swatches and print transfers delineate the topography of her paintings like fleeting, cherished memories. Drips punctuate with calculated incursion. The visual acuity of some work is cultivated by raising canvas levels, incorporating metal remnants on or under the surface and scraping or sanding paint away to reveal pigment levels, sharing a significant depth of past proceedings. Hoffecker’s canvases are sometimes raw and stained with squared apertures, hues inviting introspection. They comfortably interrelate cooperatively, with gestural line drawings that dance amongst the calculated balance. Some surfaces are impressed with resin, high gloss lustre that holds the saturated colour strokes, reflecting back to the viewer. She mirrors recollections that exude tenacity. Here, the integrated compositions of abstracted form and materials of cosmopolitan life are a presence that shines fearlessly. Through Urban Settings, we witness Hoffecker’s visualization of urban life that compels us to relinquish literal identification of city existence for a sincere, intangible understanding of the metropolitan experience. Incorporating snippets and traces of artifices of the world we inhabit, enigmatic layered allusions to history superimpose drenched colour to ascertain a provocative discourse about urbanity. Hoffecker acknowledges the experience can be stark as the unbleached linen she employs or as mesmerizing as the resin glow. She gives us a privileged insight into her lucid analysis. Ira Hoffecker takes us on an unfolding journey. 
View Ira Hoffecker 4