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Redwood Downs
David Hoffos, Hoffos, installation, multimedia, multimedia installation, photography, video, projection, dreams, mirrors, installed environments, triptych photograph, colour, texture, dream, project, interference, cat,
description

The photographs of Redwood Downs are not the art objects themselves, but are documentation of an  installationAn art work specially designed to fit in or to make use of a specific type of space. It usually consists of more than one element and relates to the space in which it is displayed.  of Hoffos' in the Mendel Art Gallery collection. While most installations take advantage of space for their large-scale possibilities, Hoffos' work pulls a viewer inward; if we want to see a  figure1.  The form of a human, an animal or a thing; most often referring to an entire human form.  2.  A person of note (i.e., an important figure in history...)  that is only two inches tall, we must get very close to the work. Despite this, though, the works feel more like movies than intricate pieces of art, and the installations produce emotional responses in a viewer, but only as they are experienced in time.

Hoffos also uses mirrors and projection surfaces to build his installed environments, and because he uses light to build illusions, experiencing his work is sometimes like walking into a dream.  Viewers can see things in ways they would not normally see them, such as his miniature figures, or they can see a thing at its proper size but not be able to interact with it. For example, Redwood Downs features a projected cat, which can only really be "affected" if a viewer steps in the way of the projection, otherwise the cat performs the same action, over and over again.

Hoffos has said about his own work:

start quoteQuite often my work comes to me in my dreams, pretty much fully formed. And then it’s just a matter of figuring out how to convey that theme, or image, or feeling.Through the process of making it, things often evolve and break down. Then it’s a matter of getting back to that original dream or flash.end quote
-- David Hoffos (Salida 2002)

Redwood Downs is one of the title works in an extended  seriesA number of things or events standing or succeeding in order, and connected by a like relation; sequence; order; course; a succession of things; as, a continuous series of calamitous events. (The Online Plain Text English Dictionary)  that Hoffos calls Scenes from the House Dream. When phase four appeared at Regina’s Dunlop Art Gallery the notes for the exhibition stated that: “The individual works in this series offer views of haunting nocturnal mise-en-scène inhabited by restlessly moving figures.” (News Release, 2006)

Critic Nancy Tousley describes Redwood Downs as a fictional suburb, where Hoffos uses his visual tricks to have viewers contemplate, “…not just the city, it would seem, but the cool vastness of the universe…Is this what it might be like to walk through the screen and into the scene of a movie?” Tousley asks. “To become a character in the mise-en-scène? To discover that filmic space has layers of depth and time, unavailable to a viewer in a theatre sitting in a stationary seat?” (Tousley, 2003)

additional resources Things to Think About
Studio Activity

Keep a dream diary

David Hoffos has said about his own work:  “Quite often my work comes to me in my dreams, pretty much fully formed.  And then it’s just a matter of figuring out how to convey that theme, or image, or feeling.  Through the process of making it, things often evolve and break down. Then it’s a matter of getting back to that original dream or flash.”  (Salida, 2002)

  • Put a notebook next to your bed and write down everything you can remember about your dreams each time you wake up.
  • Use these dreams as inspiration for making art works.
References

Anderson, Jack. ‘Breaking down visual illusions.’ Regina Leader Post, June 2, 2004.

Anderson, Jack. ‘Delights fantastical, but also dark.’ Regina Leader Post, October 8, 1998.

Author unknown.  ‘David Hoffos: Scenes from the House Dream.’ @ the Library, Regina Public Library, September/October 2006.

Author unknown.  ‘David Hoffos: Another City.’  News Release.  Neutral Ground Gallery, Regina Saskatchewan, May, 2004.

Salida, Jenny.  ‘Interview with David Hoffos.’  The Homepage, 2002.  Retrieved from the Internet on August 25, 2008 from:  http://www.thehomeopage.com/linhly/David Hoffos.htm

Tousley, Nancy. ‘Dream Scenes’  Canadian Art, Spring 2009. Retrieved from the Internet March 22, 2009 from: http://www.canadianart.ca/online/slideshows/2009/03/12/david-hoffos/

Tousley, Nancy.  ‘Spotlight:  David Hoffos:  What Happens Next?’  Canadian Art, April 29, 2003.  Retrieved from the Internet on August 25, 2008 from:  http://www.canadianart.ca/art/features/2003/04/29/122/

 

Canadian Heritage University of Regina Mackenzie Art Gallery Mendel Art Gallery Sask Learning