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 Jolyon Gene Hofsted  (1942 - )

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Lived/Active: New York      Known for: sculptor-bamboo and clay vessels

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from Auction House Records.
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Working from his studio in Bearsville, New York, Jolyon Hofsted creates vessel-like sculptures intended to be social commentaries on many social issues including war, politics, sex and drugs. He uses a variety of materials including cigarette butts, wood, paper, plastic, sand, fur, cast aluminum, etc. In the 1990s, he did a bronze series and in early 2000 began working with bamboo, which he found fascinating for manipulation into a variety of forms. Of working with bamboo, he said: "My goal was to be simple, elegant and natural, like the material."

His sources of the bamboo are a bamboo garden owned by a friend named Steve Ray, a bamboo garden of his own in Woodstock, New York and a bamboo plantation in Alabama.

For his project of integrating bamboo into his sculpture, Hofsted has received two small grants from the City University of New York


"A Meeting of Bamboo & Clay"
Article by Jolyon Hofsted
Published in Ceramics: Art and Perception 2001

The following is excerpted from "Art Times", November 2003. Submitted by Cornelia Seckel publisher of "Art Times".

Yale Epstein & Jolyon Hofsted at the Watermark/Cargo Gallery (Review)

MORE OFTEN THAN not, a two or more person show can work at a disadvantage to, if not all artists on view, at least to those with work not strong (or good) enough to hold its own. This was certainly not the case here* seldom do the creative visions of two artistic minds and a painter and sculptor at that! function so well together, each intensifying the other, both carrying on a silent dialogue that both simplifies and deepens their individual and combined content at one and the same time.

To begin with, neither artist is expressing an easily translatable theme or "message" through either simple representational or figurative imagery and yet both appear to be shedding light on the significance of the work of his fellow exhibitor. On the other hand, neither is dealing in straightforward abstraction far from it, in fact.

Yale Epstein, using primarily a two-dimensional format and combinations of such materials as oil, ink, wax, pastel, pencil, gesso, goldleaf, acrylic, vellum, graphite, paste, silk, aquatint and varnish on wood and/or paper, works in fragmentary fashion, employing both broken color (sometimes harmoniously, sometimes not) and partial assemblage, to convey a sense of unfinished or un-realized language/message from the past.

Such is the overall dynamics of Epstein's art that, whatever rational "spin" one chooses to put on the experience of viewing his work either individually or collectively there are some thirty-four pieces one is convinced that one has undergone some subtle transformation, some initiation into ancient mysteries that somehow eludes our vocabulary to elucidate. We know something "happened" that some inner (and more primitive) self has been somehow "touched" but not precisely how it happened or what it was.

Interspersed with and playing against Epstein's work both mounted on the walls and strategically placed here and there on the floor of the several "galleries" are Hofsted's three-dimensional sculptures all comprised of two materials: ceramic and bamboo (though in some cases, the bamboo is attached to their ceramic elements with heavy twine and a gelatinous fixatif that appears to be either melted wax or glue that binds the disparate components).

Again, as with Epstein's reappearing elements, Hofsted's repetitive and consistent use of ceramic and bamboo is a powerful visual mantra that irresistibly engages the mind on some pre-conscious and elemental level. This recurrence of materials is echoed by the vessel-like appearance that characterizes each of the works all seem to be molded in a consistent container-like form many seemingly designed for the holding of water, or grain, or perhaps even human remains. The clay-work which sometimes appears to be rough, fragmentary, and ill-handled (purposely so, one eventually comes to realize) when considered in isolation yet produces in the end a highly sophisticated and final configured whole that is both pleasing to the eye and functionally apt.

Thick slabs of clay that seem to be haphazardly stuck on here and there, meld into a harmonious aggregate when viewed at the proper distance (much like what occurs when stepping back from the blobs and splashes of an impressionist painting). Because of their spatial presence, their three-dimensionality, Hofsted's pieces are as forcibly iconic in their impact as spiritually expressive as are Epstein's suggestive glyphs, in spite of (or perhaps because of) the fact that, once again, we are not made aware of their particular purpose or use.

Both men vary the size of their conceptual products Epstein, from 11 1/4"x9 1/2" to 44" x 21" and Hofsted, from 5"x14"x9" to 16"x16"x50" high i.e., from intimate to large-scale dimensions. Also as with Epstein's vision, Hofsted's work throws us back into a past that is redolent of prehistoric ceremony, funereal rites, and the mysteries of combing fire and earth. Some of the thick, rough-hewn clay segments that form the bodies of Hofsted's vessels seem of volcanic origin, formed by nature rather than by human hand (or intelligence).

I felt compelled to view this exhibit in silence, treading noiselessly around the separate works, as if not to disturb their aura, their eerie and numinous presence much as if I were circumambulating the nave of some image-filled cathedral. Showing these two artists in tandem was a stroke of pure inspiration and I have rarely come across such a happy marriage of placement and artwork such as this.

*"Yale Epstein: Mixed Media Works & Jolyon Hofsted: Ceramics: New Work" (Sep 13Oct 26): Watermark/Cargo Gallery, 111 Abeel St., Kingston, NY (845) 338-8623

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