Pat Hoffie

Gender, nature, culture
Roz macAllan Gallery, Brisbane
29 September - 22 October, 1988

Splits, cuts, colour, tears and text; montages of women in domestic and "cultural" contexts provide an innovative addition to the work of Pat Hoffie. Hoffie used the Canon colour laser copier for her collages on the topic of "Gender, Nature, Culture", and in doing so successfully managed to unite contemporary theory and technique. An interesting aspect of her use of the laser copier is the technical paradox of making "original" art works on a machine designed to create multiple copies. In this way she has questioned the aura of originality and reproduction, for in these works the "originals" are copies.

The copier has enabled her to eliminate an immediate sense of gesture through a machine rendered surface - something that Hoffie has aimed for in past paintings. This absence of gesture seems to relate art more to the contemporary mass media environment; and the ability of the machine to create drastic reworkings of the original images also reflects the power of mass media to process every kind of knowledge.

But the machine is only creative in the right hands, and with Hoffie a confident mastery of the machine is evident in the extraordinary variety of tone and colour and placement. She has pushed the machine to its limits as much as she has accepted it.

She presented her works as either "diptychs" or as multi-page enlargements. The second panel of each diptych is usually more radical and critiques, parodies or deconstructs the first, using more extreme colouration, textual reference, and segregated imagery and text. Hollie's second panel also supports an aesthetic motive for it enables her to produce an alternative reworking of the initial copy.

Her facility can be seen in the variety of colouration as the flat, brilliant colour of the diptychs, The Pain of the Peripheries (the natural price of domesticity), or in the rich and complex mixing of tones of The Natural Beauty of Domesticity (flayed and frozen on the formica). She also played interesting games with gesture, for example the deconstruction of the immediacy of a torn edge which occurs in the copy process. All in all, these works on paper constitute a very valuable addition to Hollie's oeuvre.