Kay Hofmann: Being and Becoming

Opening: Wednesday, Apr 12, 2023 4 – 7:30 pm
Wednesday, Apr 12 – May 27, 2023

1612 W. Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60622

PATRON is proud to present Being and Becoming, the gallery’s second solo exhibition with Rockford-based sculptor Kay Hofmann. 

In her 1932 quasi-autobiographical novel, Lorenzo in Taos, Mabel Dodge Luhan reflected:  

“I could only tell in these pages how we all were then, that I had lived and through the time we passed together here and recorded it, and so this recollection is only of the painful days that brought about changes in us all and not of the change itself. It tells of the process of change, of the permutations of the spirit worked upon by spirit. It does not end happily with all of us united once more, chastened and disciplined, for life is not concerned with results, but only with Being and Becoming.”  

Being and Becoming presents a series of sculptures Hofmann created during the past three years, many originating during the confines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Carved and finished entirely by hand, the works in the exhibition demonstrate Hofmann’s sensitive attunement to the natural physical properties of her stones. African Black Stone, Marble, and White and Pink Alabaster, stored in the artist’s garage for years or even decades, others identified from quarries in Italy and Zimbabwe, some remnants from her father, a memorial mason. Over a nearly seventy-year career (she graduated from the School of the Art Institute in 1955), Hofmann has forged a transformative relationship to her materials, finishing the surfaces in such a way where the same material appears to hold entirely different, complementary qualities. Evident is her study of modernism – the cubist figural sculptures of Jacques Lipchitz, or the organic approach of Barbara Hepworth yet for Hofmann, sculpture is manifestation of a reality, a futurity, not a memorialization of the past. 

Markers of what was for many a period of solitude and reflection, the sculptures in Being and Becoming are a significant chapter in Hofmann’s mature practice. Her final series of small scale works, the female figures can be read as intimate alter-egos. Capturing the potentialities of freedom through dynamic, fluid movement, the work in the exhibition is foremost one of quiet existence. Qualities of listening, repose, attunement to oneself and the earth offer an act of grounding–vital to actual change, a permission to release into an active state of becoming.

Image: Thoughts of Yesterday