Friday, July 26, 2013

Death, Loss & Decay: 24 Works on Paper Artist Jeff Hogue

Guest author: Jessika Davis OVAC Intern
Jeff HogueA Conversation with Ghosts, Gouache and ink and acrylic ink on
Mylar taped to watercolor paper, 12.5” x 16”, 2013
Jessika Davis: You’ve mentioned that your piece is a “continuation of a sort of long term inquiry into death, loss and decay.” Could you go into that further?

Jeff Hogue: I've been care-giving for my father for several years now. He passed away three weeks ago on Father's Day. I think this at least in the back of my mind. I've only been with two relatives as they've passed. My maternal grandfather and my dad. Many years ago and years after my grandfather's death I had a dream in which I was witnessing my grandfather in his typical khaki shirt and pants that he wore to work in the plant where he spent most of his career. In the dream I had the distinct realization that I was watching him doing something in his kitchen and that he didn't know that he was dead. Perhaps the notion comes from the movie, The Sixth Sense where Bruce Willis' character was in a similar predicament.

On another level, I've been interested in what Thomas Berry called, "The Great Work" ---that of saving the earth. He and others have developed a field called "Ecosophy" which is primarily a spirituality centered upon embracing our responsibilities to our planet. In this context, the disaster in Japan in April 2011 and the Joplin Tornado in May of that year made a huge impact on me. Seeing the footage of the Tsunami carrying thousands of people to their death was devastating. On top of this, my daughter lives in Joplin and was only blocks from the path of the devastation of the epic storm. I went there a few days after and was thunderstruck by what I saw.

These and other factors have caused me to think a lot about death and ghosts.

Davis: What inspired you to name this piece A Conversation with Ghosts?
Hogue: I title my pieces without too much ado. I trust my intuition to give me the right words and often title things almost automatically. When I thought about it, it made a lot of sense and felt right.

This artwork will be featured in the 24 Works on Paper exhibition on exhibition at IAO Gallery through August 3, 2013 and touring Oklahoma through December 2014. See venues and more information at 

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