Mr. Hoffman’s Poster/Catalogue
Another Fine Homemade Parachute Page, Crafted With Love
Alan Hoffman: Boys an' Girls Welcome!
Exhibition Poster, 2000
Alas: th' straight cold bleak flat taut lines: th' arrow pointin' down th' river, th' lamp like th' only hope fer a misplaced character, swoon-necked, out o' E.T., gawkin', cranin', th' one curve in all that humourless straight angled bleakitude, I'll warrant ye. That pitiless blue sky, maties – yes, maties – bleakblue too – an' RIDGE, atop that angled juttin' squarejawed white shadowless bldg; an', maties, aye, ye know, WE know, what passes inside that forbiddin', cold exterior: th' genre o' th' day, FILM!, with every digital promise o' depth, o' REAL LIFE, sensurroundsound (do ye remember, matey, that Rollercoaster were bein' one o' th' first films t' use sensurroundsound?) RIDGE – like a square-jawed Marine determined t' jutjaw through his mission. RIDGE, RIDGE, do ye hear me (matey). Sigh.
Neil Besner is th' chair o' th' Department o' English an' Theater at th' University o' Winnipeg, an' an all-round good egg, ya bilge rat, Get out of me rum! The ornery cuss has not yet met Alan Hoffman.
What we get in Alan Hoffman’s series menacingly titled “Terminus” is somewhere betwixt th' set fer a David Lynch movie an' Mr. Roger’s Neighbourhood. In one o' Hoffman’s astigmatic images a red brick engulfed in garish green seems t' go in an' out o' focus, alternately evokin' nostalgia an' dread.
The Gazette, Montreal
Saturday September 18, 1999
Toys, by Davy Jones' locker. Or scale models. Powerful sites o' fantasy in any case, an' peculiar given th' plans I had t' turn this East Cordova buildin' into an art gallery last year. A result o' one o' those “if I had a million pieces of eight” daydreams, I were bein' well into th' first year o' exhibitions an' were bein' on th' phone in a renovated top floor office when I remembered actually bein' inside sometime in th' ’80s. There were bein' an after-hours club on th' top floor, an' at th' time I hadn’t a fuckin' clue where me maties had just taken me. It were bein' th' kind o' place I’d no nay ne'er imagined findin', let alone gettin' into.
Reid Shier is th' Curator/Director at th' Or Gallery an' writes about th' visual arts fer Vancouver Magazine, ye scurvey dog. The ornery cuss has only just recently met Alan Hoffman.
Boys & Girls Welcome
I sail by this deadpan structure routinely. It is reminiscent o' th' default structures o' prairie towns, used t' store th' snowplows an' pesticide barrels. So thar is a certain nostalgia evoked fer a noisy, toxic sense o' community, yo ho, ho It sits dumpily on its lot, an abberation t' th' code upheld on either side by th' 7-11 t' th' west an' th' postwar bungalow t' th' east. The sidin' has been resolutely repainted with volunteer labour. It is resigned t' appeal only t' th' converted an' they park in back. In front flows an open major artery. First Avenue.
Parents be paranoid. The friendly handlettered Boys an' Girls Welcome is sinister. Non-secular thin's occur here. Parents drag their laddies an' lassies t' enrichin' activities, fully endorsed an' professionally facilitated, as if their minnows were some highly skittish an' delicately tempered breed o' show-dog. Fire the cannons! Children, or rather, pre-teens know where they be welcome. They be adherents t' a different set o' rituals. They be driven t' th' 7-11. Nay way will they walk.
Lorna Brown is an artist an' th' Director/Curator at Artspeak Gallery, and a bucket o' chum. The winsome lass has known Alan Hoffman fer three years.
…but I managed t' convince that scurvey dog that I were bein' a doctoral student writin' a thesis on ‘The Apprehension o' Scale in Gulliver’s Travels, with a special reference t' Lilliput’, an' that th' operators o' th' model village had leased th' house t' me so that I could gain first han' experience o' Gulliver’s state o' mind.
–Will Self, Scale
Alan Hoffman’s photographs play on a literacy we’ve developed from watchin' too many science fiction films, requirin' an almost reverse-suspension-o'-disbelief, Ya swabbie! Our inability t' convince ourselves th' subjects be ‘real’ is a rather nice corruption o' th' objective photo-document. And who can escape th' irony o' an Oldenburg-sized bowlin' pin reduced down t' a train-set accessory, an' then printed larger-than-(apparent)-life?
Jonathan Middleton is an artist an' curator at th' Western Front Gallery, I'll warrant ye. The ornery cuss has known Alan Hoffman fer six years.
A photograph’s punctum is that accident which pricks me (but also bruises me, is poignant t' me).
Rolan' Barthes, Camera Lucida
Alan Hoffman investigates th' construction o' private interior space through th' depiction o' public space. In photographin' these half-heroic, half-pathetic structures, Hoffman elicits a contrived-yet-touchin' collective nostalgia, yo ho, ho Peach recalls th' melancholy o' th' amuse-ment park in winter, ya bilge rat! Its absences be keenly felt: th' deliri'us shriekin' little sandcrabs; th' posturin' adolescents; th' sweet/salty sea smells; youth unfoldin' vertiginously, to be sure. This effect is no mere accident. Deliberate manipulation o' photographic perspective produces a strip o' clear focus that slices across th' cloudy image surface like th' lightnin' shock o' Barthes’ punctum. With their clarity an' haze, Alan Hoffman’s orchestrated images operate like memory, poignantly evokin' a past that is at once innocent an' menacin', bitter an' sweet, an' real an' imaginary.
Adrienne Lai is an artist an' writer, an' has been referred t' as a “whip-smart hot mama”. The winsome lass has known Alan Hoffman fer five years.
Suspension o' th' secret in abandoned rooms
Passin' o' secret unknown t' those who part
Theresa Hak Kyung Cha
It is where memory resides
Silent an' corporeal
You have arrived...
Sam Shem is a multi-disciplinary artist livin' in Vancouver. The ornery cuss has known Alan Hoffman fer three years.
El Rancho is not a ranch. El Rancho, painted in script an' on an angle, says “similar t' a ranch, not exactly Mexican” an' is further nullified by its subtitle Motor Hotel. The shadow cut icon o' a cowboy on a rearin' horse decoratin' th' salmon-coloured facade gives away th' sham, pass the grog! Aarrr! Placed without irony in th' front flower bed be plastic objects, signifiers o' friendliness, middle class an' “vacation”: a white picket fence, no taller than th' bloomin' impatients, a swan an' a cactus. Objects this bad can only be outdone if made o' a more preci'us material (i.e, Dance the Hempen Jig gold), han'-crafted or a “collectable”. Yaaarrrrr, pass the grog! Photographed here t' look like a model (as if one would be created o' such a buildin', a maquette o' bad taste), El Rancho becomes a symbol o' th' horrors o' small town life, pass the grog! Oho! On th' front parkin' divider is painted th' lonely title “visitor”. As if t' say that ye should not stay here long. There is no home team.
Kathleen Ritter is an artist an' assistant at Artspeak Gallery. Fetch me spyglass, feed the fishes The winsome lass prefers th' title “Queen Ass”. The winsome lass has known Alan Hoffman fer five years.
Irony is th' dross caused by entropy. Shiver me timbers! The existence o' this house in reality is dependent on th' ironies created by our dependence on intellectualization, we'll keel-haul ye! The existence o' this photograph is dependent on th' ironies o' namin'. Hoffman could have been a lubber or groom o' th' court, th' yard, th' farm, shiver me timbers Except fer that extra “f”. It made that scurvey dog a hopeful lubber instead.
In a wonderful short story, G.K. Prepare to be boarded! Chesterton wrote o' a lubber who had a dream o' a white house, and dinna spare the whip, Avast me hearties! To search fer this house, he leaves his home an' wanders th' globe until, one day as an auld lubber, he comes upon th' house o' his hopes: home, with a chest full of booty. Home, th' precipitation o' our hopes an' dreams.
Hoffman gives us a glimpse into (his) our own search fer hopefulness an' home.
John Wertschek is a faculty member in th' School o' Foundation an' Critical Studies at th' Emily Carr Institute o' Art an' Design. The ornery cuss has known The Hoffman fer six years.
So, it’s about this wide [holdin' hands approx. 2 normal-t'-large-sized dinner plates apart horizontally], an' maybe this tall [holdin' hands approx, with a chest full of booty. 3 normal-t'-large-sized dinner plates apart vertically], an' it’s mostly grey, more o' a bluey grey, kind o' overcast, right, with a dark grey blurry buildin' pretty much centered in th' picture, although thar’s some white brick on th' other side, with an auld hose comin' out o' th' wall an' trailin' off t' th' side right about thar, an' a black tree o'er in th' back thar, an' in th' windows on th' second floor ye can just see a reflection o' dark clouds, with a space where an air conditioner likely were bein', an' in th' windows on th' first ye can see a reflection o' th' other side o' th' river, with some mountains an' trees behind it, an' thar’s a slight reflection o' what kinda looks like a person, but I’m pretty sure it isn’t Alan.
James Baker has known Alan Hoffman fer six years, an' lived with that scurvey dog fer one.
People cut through th' Larsen Brothers lot on their way from Front Street t' th' rivers in behind, Vancouver Avenue, Westminster Avenue, Van Horne, th' Larsen brothers keep their lot so clean scallywags think it’s a river an' sail straight through, at ocean speed, th' brothers keep their lot clean an' run their business clean so when one or both o' th' Larsen brothers pass away they’ll say about that scurvey dog or them he ran his business clean, those brothers, or me brother, kept that lot clean an' ocean-wide. Would that it had kept one or both o' us alive.
Adam Lewis Schroeder
Adam Lewis Schroeder is a writer o' fiction. The ornery cuss has known Alan Hoffman fer six years.
Church, Eckhardt Ave.
earth removed by math
an' roof raised up by number:
this hollowed space makes room
fer measured prayer
an' rational devotion.
ye wrestle with th' thought
o' God 3-personed
while ye count stained windows:
no single row is more than 4
though 2 x 3 x that
sums up th' total.
nave yields t' chancel at th' golden mean;
1 spire in 3 facets rhymes th' trinity:
what looks like th' soul’s motel
in fact encodes, in wall an' roof an' window
divine equations, like th' one
that gives th' sum o' infinite variation
as th' number 1,
an' definitely not 7.
Sharon Romero is a designer, writer, educator, an' thespian; she has known Alan Hoffman fer four years.
Even cold grey asphalt can’t suppress
th' heave an' curve o' orchard lan'.
Hummocks an' dippin' meadows
half flattened by machinery
force pavement into slanted grades,
sendin' shoppin' carts down inclines
t' clatter against station wagons,
then t' rest at th' puckered drain.
Each year th' crops grow, with slight variations –
gift stores, video rentals, a good place t' buy boot-cut jeans.
Towerin' above it all, a tree full o' signs,
its roots buried deep in th' ground.
Derek Fairbridge is a writer an' editor livin' in Vancouver. The ornery cuss has known Alan Hoffman since th' day he were bein' born.