Art is the Tie that Binds
Mill Valley Record , Mill Valley CA, March 19, 1986
by Jorie Parr of the Record
Artists are often married to artists. But seldom do they collaborate in their work. If they do join forces, success is rare. Carol Hoffnagle and Peter Keefer are exceptional. Together 7 years, each had established a speciality. She focuses on commanding, unflowerly flowers. He produces landscapes of awesome simplicity. In 1984 they broke through individual barriers, deciding her plants would blossom in the light of his serene vistas. The result is a whole that transcends its components. Their medium is the limited edition collagraph, with a method that Keefer developed, using masonite instead of the usual cardboard. In their studio aerie, a liberated attic in their Ross Valley Victorian home, they work separately and together. Enjoying family jokes like calling their press Winston, and surrounded by their collection of toy stuffed gorillas, they have fun along the way, while seriously embarking on an exciting new course.
Carol Hoffnagle is a familiar signature around the world of graphics. Her theme, the aggressive, oversized flower, incites recognition. No slave to botany, she’s apt to create her own species. They burst forth in subtly grayed colorations that cast a compelling glow. This technique translates to oil painting as well as print applications. Hoffnagle’s composition is characteristically off-kilter, as when the flower appears to be growing out of its frame. The effect is pleasing to the eye, slightly jarring to the senses.
Peter Keefer landscapes are internationally celebrated. Known for his supreme clarity, Keefer’s gift is for subtraction. His aim is to take away almost everything and yet leave something left. Even his trademark moon can be banished. Figuratively speaking, he uses a long photo lens to condense distance into layered planes. Recently, Keefer has ventured into collage monotypes, punctuated with photos and strips from old prints. This new medium is conducive to his fascination with dichotomy, a split view not easily perceived in prints.