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B. Lancaster, PA, 1982

Huê Thi Hoffmaster is a painter whose language of energetic lines and masses of color read alternately as calligraphic script, abstract still lifes, and bodies in conversation. The son of Vietnamese and American parents, Hoffmaster now lives and works in Weston, Connecticut. He attended the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, where he studied with Jan Baltzell, Alex Kanevsky, and Bruce Samuelson, and spent his early career exploring the full spectrum of abstraction and representation; his current work reflects the formal breadth of his vision.  

Oscillating between improvisation and meticulous rendition, the floral bouquets of Hoffmaster’s compositions combine delicate blossoms with heavy bursts of color. The arrangements alternatively materialize as portrait-like studies and playful scenes. Hoffmaster’s thickets of paint threaten to outgrow the boundaries of his canvas as he actively cultivates tension — between Eastern and Western aesthetic traditions, intuition and intention, stillness and action.  

Huê Thi Hoffmaster - Artists - Eric Firestone Gallery

Huê Thi Hoffmaster in his studio, 2024.

Hoffmaster’s recent paintings reflect the influence of both Eastern and Western painting traditions. Peripheral depictions of abundant natural growth frame areas of raw canvas, providing the areas of negative space associated with Chinese landscape painting. Hoffmaster views the empty portions of the composition as opportunities for breath and pause, and incorporates a mindfulness practice into his process. He combines this quiet sensibility with saturated colors and heavily impastoed brush marks. The artist is also inspired by the floral still lifes by 19th century French painter Henri Fantin-Latour and draws on his classical training and mastery of representational color palettes. 

Hoffmaster does not work from sketches or preparatory drawings, but rather sees art-making as an event where he can embrace the inconsistencies and energy of the moment. He feels that the aesthetic variety of his work reflects his shifting moods. Hoffmaster views the abstracted shapes of his flowers as symbolic representations of human interactions, engaged in frenzied conversation or arranged in dense gatherings. The artist locates within each blossom an individual personality and presence which reflects day-to-day psychological battles, conversations, and relationships with people around him. The budding forms also visualize the artist’s life philosophy of symbiosis and mutuality – “plant the garden and everything will work to nourish it.” 

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