Hardman Hall recently displayed a showing titled, “Looking for Magic.”
It contained both paintings and prints. These were the works of Christopher Hocking, associate director of the Lamar Dodd School of Art at the University of Georgia.
He is currently the chair of both the drawing and painting area, in addition to the First Year Studio Foundations program.
Hocking received a Bachelors of Fine Art with concentrations in sculpture and painting from Miami University, Oxford and Ohio. He also received a Masters of Fine Art in Painting and Drawing from Louisiana State University.
The original works themselves were as stunning, charming and expressive as their creator. They seemed to represent, in a sense, a biography of the artist, showing every emotion and idea that went in to the creations.
Hockings described the works as “idiosyncratic ruminations about love and hope, anxiety and fear, [and] the disorientation of unfulfilled desire.”
Hocking’s manages to bring the viewer into a whole different world from what is natural by using ordinary and imaginative influences. He creates layers of stories that enfold the spectator in a fairy tale.
Hockings said in his artist statement that he would “begin with a trigger –a phrase, a color, a movement, and a passage – a structure, following where it leads, freely associating between abstraction and figuration, the conscious and the unconscious. Images juxtapose the absurd and the arbitrary, the concrete and the ephemeral.”
This creates a crazy sense for the viewer, like free falling into a variety of images and colors.
Craig Coleman, associate professor in the Art Department at Mercer, said, “The works are significant in their contemporary approach to the tradition of painting and printmaking. Hocking utilizes the computer as a tool in the process of designing and creating the content of the paintings while mixing oil and acrylic paint together with salt and computer cut paper elements.”
A favored work was “Looking for Magic: White Elephant.”
Both the painting and the story behind it draws one toward the canvas.
Hocking’s inspiration stemmed from the game of white elephant and the idea of resifting what one does not desire to keep.
He created inside the painting a world of inanimate objects inside of a garage space that cluttered the view, forcing the bystander to continually scan the painting.
It was almost like playing a game of “I Spy” searching for images in the splashes of color. It forced an interaction to take place between the observer and the painting.
Coleman commented that “The processes [Hocking] uses are unique, but so is the content. The artist makes many references on the same canvas to subjects such as children’s drawings, politics, religion, folk art, personal notes to himself, the history of art, as well as raw emotion and abstraction. He aesthetically ties these disparate elements together with the effortlessness of an athlete’s conditioned response.”
The artist himself is so buried in the painting that to attempt to separate him from his works is impossible; it is very much a part of his character.
This much is true for any artist.