On the Margins of Space …
Concerning the Landscapes and Interiors of Andrea C. Hoffer
The “I” is infinite to itself, meaning it is infinite in its view of itself. But the “I” by looking at itself becomes finite. This contradiction can only be solved in that the “I” in this finiteness becomes infinite to itself, i.e. that it regards itself as becoming infinite.
Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von Schelling 
This contradiction, as complex as it may seem, is made visible in a very fundamental way in Tobago resident Andrea C. Hoffer’s pictures. It seems as if she has created these staged spaces for just this performance of existential conflict. From a purely typological viewpoint her pictures move between the interior and landscape genres without regard to clear boundaries between the two.
The mostly rather muted colouring of her tempera paintings – the twilight between light and dark – endows them with an eerie, dreamlike effect, which the absence of human protagonists enhances. The process by which the picture was created using multiple layers of glazed paint can be reconstructed by the viewer, becoming an intriguing and in itself contradictory experience. Areas defined by paint emerge from the repeated layering of vertical and horizontal, sometimes labyrinthically intertwining strokes, which in their interweaving can also convey perceptions of space. The ambiguity of surface composition and spatial concepts is therefore continually maintained. Interwoven in this structure are streaks of open colour that can evoke wind, atmospheric phenomena and the growth processes of plants. Natural forces and human intervention are in conflict, perceptions of exterior and interior can hardly be differentiated. An interplay emerges between composing and decomposing forces. Rhythmically pulsating, the surface condenses into physical sensations, which are then continually returned to the picture plane, a dynamic geared towards exceeding the images’ boundaries.
A billowing curtain, blinds rhythmically shimmering in musical cadences of colour, abundant ornamental tendrils proliferating across wallpaper and lively baroque décor infuse the pictorial scene. Andrea C. Hoffer’s pictures acquire their dramatic intensity from the interplay of differing forces, from both areas of calm and movement, which auratically charge the still life motifs which have been inserted, and transcend their physical presence in order to evoke moments of contemplation and introspection. Besides votive panels, images of the Virgin Mary and snapshots a scull can also be found which compresses the flowing, dynamically intertwined linear elements of the picture to a vanitas meditation. The permanently changing, amorphously floating structures of the picture harmonize with this symbolic reference, shifting between permanence and impermanence. The ephemeral is experienced visually as a fundamental category of visible reality.
In the use of interior and still life motifs the artist allows the viewer an insight into her private living space, her innermost self. Furniture, flower vases, lamps and other accessories create an atmosphere of the known and familiar, of an intimate proximity, confirming a bourgeois canon of values of security and gemütlichkeit – as an antipode to the atmospheric turbulences of the outside world. The interior, perceived as an inner psychological image, is linked to the motif of the studio, in which traditionally the artist’s self-image is programmatically expressed. Landscape, representing the external world, intrudes not only through an open window or a door. Rather the borders between interior and exterior are blurred, as restlessly sweeping movements of colour flood into the space from various directions and subvert sensations of calm and stability. Landscape experienced as infinite and the romantic feeling of the sublime intrude into the calm of the interior questioning its seclusion and security. A viewpoint which assumes a structuring perspective is decentred, becoming a noisy continuum which no longer exhibits any linear structure. Landscape, interior and still life are interwoven in a film set created for a plot consisting of natural and atmospheric phenomena. Detached from this, on an abstract, non-naturalistic level, a time-space-continuum is unlocked for the viewer which could be defined as infinite, resisting any tangibility whatsoever. These energies, however, are only able to unfold their efficacy as a conceptual counterpoint to the composed order of the space and its limitations. Clarification and mystification meet in constantly varying patterns and compelling combinations.
This is consistent with the working method of the artist who essentially prefers a plein-air situation in order to subject the picture in progress to the natural elements. She does not view nature’s intervention as interfering or entropic but rather as a chance element which is taken into account in the creative process. Processes such as erosion, leaching of colour or dispersal by wind are therefore not only traces of her own actions but equally effects of natural influences whose nebulous structures suspended within rigid right angular compositional frameworks can gain a crystalline precision and clarity. These interactions between creating and discarding are non-resolvable, containing an infinite range of possibilities. Artist and viewer enter into a mutual dialogue exceeding the boundaries of space in an eternal loop comprising the finiteness but also the infiniteness of existence.
Christoph Kivelit, Hannover 2009
 Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von Schelling: Works. Volume 1, Leipzig 1907