Modern artist Beth Hoeckel is another who demonstrates the wondrous capability if collage. Beth Hoeckel was born in 1979 and studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she studied painting, drawing photography and print making. Stemming from an old high school habit, Beth Hoeckel is known for her collage, photomontage and mixed media painting. Frequent in her work, are the surrealist juxtapositions of foreground and background. People standing on top of a cliff gazing in to a universal nothingness, individuals placed in the middle of a desert atop a glass of water, these are all elements of a surrealist process of appropriation. Far away lands of a dream-like state, a utopia of awe-inspiring contradictions, all but ripened by the suggestively free-spirited and abstract narrative. Beth Hoeckel keenly demonstrates a fluent stream of artistic consciousness where by the physicality of the process rhythmically induces an upsurge of creative energy.
The intentions of the collage are loose, there seems no political agenda, no sense of activism, just a light-hearted, comedic take on surrealist appropriation. Hoeckel find the process of discovery and arrangement is the main focus of the large array of the mixed-media collage created. An intuitive guidance as to the final placement of an image reveals itself as the arrangement continues, some elements do not click straight away, but, wait for a perfect opportunity to fit in place, sometimes taking years to do so. It is an organic process that takes time, a time period that was longer than expected. This is the most frustrating part of a collage and I find that within my own work, finding other source material to increase my chances of a spontaneously proposed pairing, connecting the dots of my artistic intentions, is the strongest way to achieve my desired outcomes, but, time is a restriction so planning is necessary.
Within Hoeckel’s collage there is a heavy focus on the remarkable feature of human autonomy, were by we automatically complete an image if visual aid is given. Hoeckel gives the example of ‘a white blob with three black dots represents a ghost.’ (Hoeckel, L. 2012) The surreal imagery, often discarding the negative space of the recognisable features of a subject, asks the viewer to completes the picture, allowing them to take part in a sort of psychologically active challenge. Some images are easy to understand, others on the other hand, take slightly longer to put in to perspective. A good example of the automatic completion sought after by our psyche, is Hoeckel’s collage ‘Cities’. The featured female is half cut out, but automatically we begin to mould the rest of her features, by means of imaginative autonomy. We know through physical relation, what her hair may look like, but the negative space around the subject becomes that extension of the body.
Nature is also another heavy theme within Beth Hoeckel’s work. The topographic elements of nature, such as mountains, volcanos and clouds are all subjects that serve as backgrounds frequently. The powerful mannerisms of nature, out-scaling humanity a million times over, perhaps serve the purpose of a consequential realisation of human insignificance, within nature and our greater universe. How we are so lost by the policies of self-proclamation and self-congratulation, that we forget the weakened force that we actually are. Perhaps Beth Hoeckel seeks to bring to light such notions of insignificance, putting a new, realist perspective on our place in this universe.
My work involves a physical process of exact replication, linked directly to the dated aesthetic, surreal elements, bizarre juxtapositions and stark comparisons that make the viewer question. I had initially been set on producing a dead-pan perspective, as Beth Hoeckel does, but I felt applying a bit of thought-provoking intention would energise an otherwise loosely defined series of collage. I like the idea of a collage being produced by means of the unconscious, yet, the final outcomes can often fall flat in any theoretical engagement. Beth Hoeckel intently applies an extraordinary example of the principles of collage that diversely demonstrate the surreal outcomes available to artists after a decent time is invested, something I need to do a lot more of if my final outcome is to be of the highest quality.
Feather of Me, Beth Hoeckel – Reminiscent Stories of Nature. Feather of Me Online [Viewed 29 Apr 2015] Available at: http://www.featherofme.com/beth-hoeckel-reminiscent-stories-of-nature/
Hoeckel, B. (2012) Beth Hoeckel: Bio. Beth Hoeckel Online [Viewed 29 Apr 2015]
Available at: http://bethhoeckel.com/BIO
Hoeckel, B. and Kosilova, D. In conversation: Beth Hoeckel. The Lab Magazine Online [Viewed 29 Apr 2015]
Available at: http://thelabmagazine.com/2012/11/10/beth-hoeckel/
Phaidon Press. (2015) Beth Hoeckel at the edge of the world. Phaidon Press [Viewed 29 Apr 2015]