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 Hazel Jopling  (1943 - )

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Lived/Active: New York/Maryland      Known for: mixed media assemblages

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Ad Code: 4
Hazel Jopling
An example of work by Hazel Jopling
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following Information was submitted by the artist, February 2004:

Hazel Jopling explains her work, "My own interest in mixed media work has been heightened by the works of Robert Rauschenberg, Louise Nevelson, and Joseph Beuys; artists who innovated the use of "cultural signifiers" and other banal materials to make art. It is in this tradition, and with this consciousness, that I have chosen to work with discarded Styrofoam packaging materials."

Hazel Savad Jopling's style began in the late 1970's, when after some major purchases for her new home, she found polystyrene packaging material commonly referred to as Styrofoam, piling up in her garage. Polystyrene packaging comes in two primary forms; loose fill "peanuts" and shaped molded packaging used to fit snugly around delicate products like computers, television sets, stereo equipment, and appliances. Because of growing concerns to the environment concerning non-biodegradable substances, she was reluctant to throw it out. Styrofoam is an oil-based product, non-biodegradable and it usually out-lives the product it was
originally designed to protect. Fascinated by the purity of the material, the white color begging to be painted, the positive-negative relationships in the pre-molded pieces, she began to use them as pictorial elements. Juxtaposed with other materials, new visual relationships formed.

Working with the Styrofoam, she found its inherent sculptural beauty intriguing. Through experimentation, she devised innovative techniques to manipulate the texture and color of the Styrofoam. To preserve the integrity of the pre-formed shapes, she has restricted herself to working with the material as found rather than cutting and piecing it to fit a preconceived idea. The shapes are selected for their compositional potential as pure imagery and also for their compositional potential in mixed media works.

This process involves exploration of positive/negative juxtapositions and abstract relationships such as, balance and harmony. Collage materials are often incorporated into compositional arrangements. Free standing sculptures, collages, and assemblages were soon also created.

Her fascination with the material transcended Styrofoam's original functional purpose and non-biodegradable detractions. Her concept for its use as an art material is based upon her belief that she is preserving it with purpose, therefore confirming the reality of her time and environment. Also, in using the material for works of art, she is alerting viewers to the fact that non-biodegradable materials must be retrieved, because as refuse, it has contributed to the contamination of our world.

Hazel Savad Jopling was born in New York City in 1943. Until she was eight, she lived in an apartment on the corner of West Broadway and Spring Street in lower Manhattan, bordered by Little Italy. Except for a few residential buildings, it was an area of mostly warehouses and factories. Later, in the 1950's, the area developed into what is now known as Soho. She started to draw when she was three years old.

When her father gained success as a popular songwriter, the family moved to the Upper West Side in 1951. Coincidentally, her first show took place across the street from her former home at the West Broadway Gallery. She went on to attend Rhodes School and New York University, majoring in Biology, while working as a model in New York. Later, she took classes at the Arts Students League. In the late 60's, she worked at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, as assistant to the manager in the Exhibition Design Department. After her marriage in 1966, she moved to upstate New York to raise her children, and began, in the 1970's, to devote more time to painting and studying art.

She started exhibiting in local upstate New York and Connecticut galleries and had her first New York City show in 1981, exhibiting her Styrofoam assemblages and sculptures. In 1989, she moved back to New York City to pursue her art career full
time and continued to exhibit. In 1991, she divorced, and in 1995 she was seriously injured in a New York City taxi. Because of the accident, she was unable to work for five years. She married again in 2001, moved to Maryland, and has resumed her work.

Public Commission: Summer Festival Poster, City of Hoboken, N.J.1974

Exhibits include the Connecticut Art Association, Essex Ct.1977-81,

Pinchpenny Gallery, Essex Ct. 1980. Finkelstein Gallery, Spring Valley, New York 1981, West Broadway Gallery New York City 1983, The Alternate Space

Gallery New York City 1985, Borough of Manhattan Community College

1990, Dyansen Gallery New York 1991, Gallery 809, Austin, Texas 1994.

Selected articles, reviews, and interviews:

The Morning Record and Journal, Connecticut 1981, Westchester Gannett

Journal News 1981, The Washington Square News 1983, Artspeak 1983.

LEARS magazine interview 1990. CBS TV local television interview Austin, Texas 1998.

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