This painting depicts a seated figure with its hand over its mouth as it snickers at the viewer. It's unclear what exactly prompted this laughter, but it is menacing nonetheless. The destabilizing humor emanating from the jester-like subject sparks uneasiness and doubt; the viewer may ask, “What are you laughing at?”
The artist has illuminated the canvas with yellow light and modeled the figure with greens and oranges. There is a strong element of drawing throughout the painting, a quality that suggests a kinship with other artists' work—such as Picasso’s cubist portraits or Picabia’s Transparencies. Amidst the flurry of brushwork in this composition are areas of resolution, including the cracked smile of a jack-o-lantern and a glistening bulging eye.
Hoza’s paintings tend to live between two states, such as sleep and consciousness or humor and horror. The artist's compositions suggest a disquiet or looming event underneath the stillness of a reclining figure. Visible traces of the artist's process in the completed painting adds to this unsettling quality. Ghosts from previous layers creep forward, charging the work with a turbulent effect and playful physicality. These works employ muted grays and explosive primary colors, along with a fragmented spatial quality, that draws from the work of artists such as Edwin Dickinson and the moonlit figures of Edvard Munch. Steadily reworking each painting over time, Hoza’s painted world becomes one of shifting planes and constant realignment. Each image works to express the possibility of meaning through the dissolution of figures within a painted space.
Combining humor and horror, Hoza’s paintings suggest disquiet or a looming event. By leaving previous layers of the painting process visible, the artist charges his compositions with a turbulent effect and playful physicality. Hoza’s painted world is one of shifting planes and constant realignment; each work expresses the possibility of meaning through the dissolution of figures within a painted space.
Stefan Hoza was born in Columbus, Ohio in 1988. The artist received a BFA from the Columbus College of Art & Design in Columbus, Ohio in 2011. While completing his BFA, Hoza attended the Yale Norfolk Summer School of Music and Art in Norfolk, Connecticut in 2010.
Exhibitions of Hoza’s work have taken place at: Secret Recipe Gallery in Los Angeles, California; Wick gallery in Brooklyn, New York; The Arturo Bandini Art Fair in Los Angeles, California; Page Gallery in New York City; Step Sister in New York City; Restaurant Projects in New York City; Anonymous Gallery in New York City; and Lubov in New York City.
Hoza’s work has been featured in publications, including the International Painting Annual by the Manifest Gallery in Cincinnati, Ohio (2012).
Hoza lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.