Beth Hoeckel

illex welcomes American artist Beth Hoeckel. Beth works with photography, paint, collage, and mixed media to create images that challenge the distinction between reality and imagination. In its powerful presentation of mystery and metaphor, Beth’s work possesses an original vision that speaks to one of us and all of us.

Please enjoy her work and her interview :)







Many of your collages and mix media works include faceless figures—figures whose faces are either obscured, distorted, or turned away from the viewer. The figure in VOID, for example, most typically represents this common element, as the figure lacks a face and in fact lacks a physical wholeness. Please tell us more about this.

I generally don’t reveal faces or expressions because then there’s no mystery left. It gives away the punch line. I prefer the figures in my work to retain a certain level of anonymity, allowing the viewer to project their own feelings and emotions.

VOID, however, is a little bit different- I consider that piece sort of a self portrait. Not necessarily of my likeness, but of a moment in time. A portrait of a feeling.

Another theme apparent in your recent work is that of connectivity. In REALMS and in RIPTIDE, we see connected objects and images. In REALMS, you have created two acrylic objects that are connected by a partial human figure; in RIPTIDE, you have created two partial human figures that are connected by an acrylic object. What do these connections mean to you?

REALMS is about delving into the unknown. Curiosity, exploration, escape, change. Touching the void. A thirst for knowledge. Reaching into a new place in your mind. Whether it be a place of darkness or light—the quest is what is important.

RIPTIDE is more about wanting to escape, wanting to be carried away, but being held back. It’s about the unknown force that bonds two human beings together and the current that can tear them apart. Taken literally, a riptide is a force in nature that can cause one to be swept away against their will. Figuratively the piece is about love slipping away. Love and loss, longing and sadness. The river that exists and flows between two souls in love is the same river that can carry one away from another in the natural flow of existence.

Your work SPACE STATION is very arresting. We see again human figures that are faceless to the viewer, yet in this case the viewer sees the object of their gaze, a faraway moon in the distance. Two similar works, INDIAN SUMMER and GLACIAL, mirror these unifying motifs of distant gazes, obscured figures, and otherworldly constructed elements. Please comment on any or all of these motifs.

“Death is always on the way, but the fact that you don’t know when it will arrive seems to take away from the finiteness of life. It’s that terrible precision that we hate so much. But because we don’t know, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. Yet everything happens a certain number of times, and a very small number, really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, some afternoon that’s so deeply a part of your being that you can’t even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four or five times more. Perhaps not even. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless.” — Paul Bowles, The Sheltering Sky

please visit Beth’s website, Flickr, and Cargo for more work that evokes and transports.

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