Portrait of George I by Elyse Hochstadt

Portrait of George I by Elyse Hochstadt, Courtesy of the Artist

With the valiant effort of keeping with my “art diary” format and writing as much as possible in the new year (every day to be exact), I figured it would be nice to write about a Bay Area artist. I’m hoping to learn more about her work as well as her processes as the year progresses. There will be more, I can promise you that, dear reader. For now though, I’m just spinning my wheels and getting the juices flowing. So, let me begin today’s entry…

As an adult, I’m much more fascinated with fairy tales and their allegorical meanings than ever before. Today, I had the opportunity to sit down with artist, Elyse Hochstadt, to discuss her art work. During our conversation, I was drawn to Portrait of George I instantly. Hochstadt mentioned her affinity to Grimm’s Fairy Tales as we talked about some sources from which she draws inspiration. Intrigued by her fascination, I couldn’t help but read through some of the various stories (i.e., The Wild Swans, The Juniper Tree, etc.) when I got home. Recalling my experience of seeing Portrait of George I, it was both a visual and physical representation of a fairy tale. Although a chair has a function and purpose in daily life, there is a repurposing of the ordinary into something extraordinary with this piece. It is enigmatic and magical. At first glance, there is a sense of wonder and fear as if the chair were to suddenly come alive to the touch. The illusion that what you are seeing in space must become something other than what it actually is, which is a well crafted piece of art work with carefully placed feathers using the chair as a base for the overall structure. However, the organic form offers no hard lines other than the wooden legs visible at the very bottom of the piece. It’s a mirage of sorts that welcomes your own interpretation and re-working of your mythologies.

This is just a mere introduction. More thoughts to come…

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9 responses to “Portrait of George I by Elyse Hochstadt”

  1. Very cool chair! My initial thoughts were Emu-ish, but then drifted to some sort of tribal leader’s throne. This reminds me of the teacup by Meret Oppenheim at http://www.moma.org/collection/browse_results.php?object_id=80997 .

    1. Fantastic recollection of Oppenheim’s teacup. I think Ms. Hochstadt definitely wants to create objects that have their own particular spin on something mythological and fairy tale-like. Thanks for the comment.

  2. Wow! It’s deliciously creepy! I’m not sure I’d want it in my living room though.

    1. I think your observation is exactly what others might say about it. Perhaps, it stems from the fact that it actually looks like it can become something other than it is, which is a chair. It’s just a chair YET the illusion that it can take on life is what brings about those feelings, maybe? Again, thanks so much for reading and contributing.

      1. Yes, and as you point out, inanimate objects taking on life, things turning into other things, people into animals, brothers into swans, is a huge part of Grimms fairy tales. I was quite immersed in those as a child (my father is a native German speaker) and I’m sure that’s part of the attraction/repulsion.

      2. This is getting even better! This is why Art is rad! The connections that are drawn are amazing. I’m sure there are many iterations of Grimm’s Fairy Tales due to translation. I’m actually trying to teach myself German (my girlfriend knows how to speak it and is part German). In any case, with art, much of contemporary art plays on the viewer’s ambivalence, which is one of the many reasons I’m a huge fan and art lover.

      3. Maybe you would be interested in This. Her blog links to something about Germanic language mechanics.It didn’t mean much to me but it might to you.

    1. das, you’re awesome! Thank you!!!!

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