Lisa Hoke creates colorful art out of things that we all encounter every day: paper, cardboard, product packaging, paper plates, plastic cups, matchbook covers, printed advertising material, and all sorts of other discarded flotsam and jetsam from our consumer society. She has assembled an intriguing and vibrant collection of these materials in the installation Love, American Style, on view at the Michele & Donald D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts through May 26 of next year.
“Love, American Style” took two years to build and is an amalgam of a series of smaller site-specific installations that Hoke has created in galleries and museums from New York to Florida to Massachusetts.
The title of the exhibition refers to advertisers’ marketing messages that try to persuade us that we can express love and solve all our problems by buying their products. “Our constant exposure to packaging, color and ‘look at me, buy me’ messages gives us a sense of shared experience,” said Hoke. “People will recognize their lives in this exhibit. Nobody will walk in here and not see something that’s familiar to them.”
Hoke gets the materials for her art from recycling bins, friends and neighbors, and the superintendent of her New York City apartment building. She even buys things like vintage paper cups through online auction sites. She then sorts and assembles the items by color into 2-3 foot collages in her studio. These modules are “choreographed” differently and connected in new ways depending on the configuration of the exhibit site. “I’m always inserting new things, and I bring plenty of extra cups and paper to create new transitions at each location,” she said.
Hoke’s work has been featured in more than 20 one-person exhibitions and numerous group shows. She is the recipient of the prestigious Edwin Austin Abbey Fellowship and The Joan Mitchell Foundation grant, and her work has been reviewed in countless international newspapers and art magazines. Her work is in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City, the New York Public Library, the Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University, the New Orleans Museum of Art, and the Orlando Museum of Art.