Skip to content

James Hoff

In the Swim

April 15 – May 20, 2018

A view of 2 artworks at the back wall with a video projected onto them. There is also a single work at-right in the foreground on the temporary wall.

Installation view, James Hoff: In the Swim, Callicoon Fine Arts, New York, NY, 2018

A view of 2 artworks installed on the wall directly at-left, with a view in the distance of 2 works installed around the far corner in the gallery. We see the projector and video being projected on these latter two works.

Installation view, James Hoff: In the Swim, Callicoon Fine Arts, New York, NY, 2018

Two artworks installed on a white wall. One is blue-purple-white, the other is predominantly pink.

Installation view, James Hoff: In the Swim, Callicoon Fine Arts, New York, NY, 2018

A straight-on view of 2 artworks situated around a corner in the gallery, with the back of the projector in the forefront. The light on the wall is a projection of the interior of the gallery via Google Maps.

Installation view, James Hoff: In the Swim, Callicoon Fine Arts, New York, NY, 2018

A detail of two artworks situated around the corner. Here we see a video projected onto the gallery wall and paintings. The video is a projection of the interior of the gallery itself.

Installation view, James Hoff: In the Swim, Callicoon Fine Arts, New York, NY, 2018

Two artworks are seen facing each other around the corner of the gallery. In the foreground is a projector on a white pedestal. On the wall on the corner is a white light, which is a video from Google Maps projecting the interior of the gallery onto itself.

Installation view, James Hoff: In the Swim, Callicoon Fine Arts, New York, NY, 2018

An single artwork on a white wall with a light happening at top-right. The light is a video of the interior of the gallery via Google Maps, which also includes the artwork itself.

Installation view, James Hoff: In the Swim, Callicoon Fine Arts, New York, NY, 2018

A single artwork installed on a white wall with a light seen at top-left of the image itself. The light is a video of the interior of the gallery from Google Maps, which also includes the painting we see in the image.

Installation view, James Hoff: In the Swim, Callicoon Fine Arts, New York, NY, 2018

The backside of the temporary wall in the gallery which includes a single artwork and a video being played over it. The video itself is a Google image of the interior of the gallery, which also has the artwork embedded. In the foreground, we see another projector being used for artworks that are behind the viewer's point of view. We also see the front window and door of the gallery.

Installation view, James Hoff: In the Swim, Callicoon Fine Arts, New York, NY, 2018

The backside of the temporary wall in the gallery which includes a single artwork and a video being played over it. The video itself is a Google image of the interior of the gallery, which also has the artwork embedded. We see another work at right, on a far wall near the entrance of the gallery.

Installation view, James Hoff: In the Swim, Callicoon Fine Arts, New York, NY, 2018

The backside of the temporary wall in the gallery which includes a single artwork and a video being played over it. The video itself is a Google image of the interior of the gallery, which also has the artwork embedded.

Installation view, James Hoff: In the Swim, Callicoon Fine Arts, New York, NY, 2018

An image of the gallery's front window, a single work at-left of the window, and the backside of the temporary wall in the gallery which holds one additional work. Each of these artworks have a video cast upon them of the inside of the gallery, and the work itself.

Installation view, James Hoff: In the Swim, Callicoon Fine Arts, New York, NY, 2018

A single artwork installed on the white wall with a video projected over the wall. The video projection is the interior of the gallery via Google Maps.

Installation view, James Hoff: In the Swim, Callicoon Fine Arts, New York, NY, 2018

A view of one work at-left, installed on the temporary wall. At right we see a single artwork with a video projected over the bottom of the artwork and the wall itself.

Installation view, James Hoff: In the Swim, Callicoon Fine Arts, New York, NY, 2018

An image of a single artwork on the gallery's temporary wall, with a partial view of another work at-left.

Installation view, James Hoff: In the Swim, Callicoon Fine Arts, New York, NY, 2018

A view of nearly the entire room: 2 works on the wall at-left, 2 works around the corner with a video projected onto them, and a single work at right upon the temporary world.

Installation view, James Hoff: In the Swim, Callicoon Fine Arts, New York, NY, 2018

Press Release

Callicoon Fine Arts is pleased to present In the Swim, James Hoff’s fourth exhibition with the gallery, opening April 15th. The exhibition features a series of new paintings and an installation that links the classical flood motif found in landscape painting with the contemporary usage of the flood or deluge as an analogy for data flows. 

Nature has long been utilized as a source of metaphors for data and digital networks. It seems data is all around us in streams, mountains, and clouds. While these idyllic images help us to understand abstract technologies, they also mask a treacherous terrain: the infiltration, collection, and monetization of personal data by corporations, governments, and other actors.

With this in mind, Hoff has created a series of new paintings that reimagine our daily streams and flows as a disorienting churn of movement; an unrelenting deluge. Each work begins as a small painting on canvas, which is then digitally photographed. Hoff then subjects this image to a series of operations using data collection malware (“WannaCry,” “GRIZZLY STEPPE”), which formally disrupts the image and gives it a hyper-sensory glow. Subsequently, Hoff works through the painting digitally utilizing basic color theory techniques. As in his “Skywiper” series, these images are transferred to aluminum via a die sublimation process. 

The works in this series are dense, all-over compositions, containing multiple shifts in perspective. Squiggles of magenta and cyan are reminiscent of light captured at great speeds in high contrast, and the movement evoked by the work creates a sense of never-ending unease. Each brushstroke is accentuated by a multitude of layers, implying a depth that may never emerge, like the unresolved layers of a stereoscopic image.

In this installation, Hoff will use projections to construct a para-real space in which the exhibition is projected onto itself via Google’s Street View. He has employed a similar technique for HOBO UFO, a series of multimedia performances that utilized a modified, audio-reactive version to guide the first-person perspective of Google Maps Street View, starting in the room hosting the performance.

In the Swim utilizes technology to collapse corporeal experience and computational space. Here, the flood is mobilized as a sublime force of power: it flattens, even resets, by way of its own momentum. The metaphor of the flood continues to resonate with our digital era, pummeling forward with disorienting speed, and informs the way we read images of landscapes past and present. Manipulating data as a painterly tool, Hoff reconsiders how material and immaterial labor factor into our digital and environmental footprint. Each turbulent painting mirrors our own habitat, but proposes it might be redefined from within.

James Hoff (b. 1975) lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. His work encompasses painting, sound, performance, and publishing among other media. He has performed and exhibited his artwork extensively throughout the United States and Europe over the last ten years. Hoff is also a co-founder of Primary Information, a non-profit arts organization devoted to publishing artists’ books and art historical documents. Recent solo museum exhibitions include those at Anne Leonowens Gallery at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Canada; the Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans, Louisiana; and Base Arte Contemporanea Odierna (BACO) in Bergamo, Italy. His work has been included in two-person and group exhibitions at the Hessel Museum of Art, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York; The Kitchen, New York; Bielefelder Kunstverein, Germany; Midway Contemporary Art, Minneapolis; the Eli & Edythe Broad Art Museum, East Lansing, MI; and Kunsthall Oslo, Norway. Readings, talks, and performances by Hoff have taken place at Mass MoCa, North Adams, Massachusetts; Artist’s Space, New York; MoMA/PS1, New York; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Institute of Contemporary Arts, London; Issue Project Room, New York; Bergen Kunsthall, Norway; and La Monnaie/De Munt, Brussels, Belgium.

Back To Top