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Lifecuts: Prints and Woodblocks by Moshe Hoffman

February 1, 2017-July 1, 2017

Location: Kay Merrill Hillman Gallery

Artist: Moshe Hoffman

Curator: Nirit Sharon-Debel

Media: Woodblocks and prints

In this exhibition, woodblocks created by artist Moshe Hoffman are displayed to the general public for the first time. Together with Hoffman’s prints they illustrate the wondrous transformation of matter into spirit described by the artist in his poetry. The cutting and engraving of a simple block, the meeting of ink and wood all combine to produce an image expressing love, passion, and life experiences.

Hoffman (1938–1983) was first and foremost a sculptor, creating over 350 woodcuts from 1966 to 1980. “His initial appreciation for woodcut technique apparently stemmed from its similarities to sculpting, a sort of carving,” writes Hoffman in the third person in his autobiography. “Eventually, when his hunger was sated, he began to love woodcuts on their own merit.”

While Hoffman’s early woodcuts depict local scenes, following the style of Jacob Steinhardt and his teacher Jacob Pins, he soon moved on to autobiographical subjects and developed a personal style. The simplified shapes featured in Hoffman’s work and his distinct language of reduction  allude to his connection with American Pop art of the 1960s. 

Through his woodcuts Hoffman articulated his inner world – his thoughts, desires, fears, and loves – as well as sharing his dedication to his family and details from his daily life, themes which are also present in his poetry.

Woman Reclining, 1979
Woodcut block
Gift of Amos and Ofra Hoffman, USA and France, in memory of their parents, Moshe and Bruria Hoffman, from the estate of artist Moshe Hoffman, Jerusalem