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Camille Hoffman: Soft Gaze


Camille Hoffman: Soft Gaze

Moonstone, Illinois Creek, and Iowa Hill trails
Aug 11 – September 4, 2023
2 install mad museum pieceablekingdom

Soft Gaze reimagines gold as an ancestral symbol for interdimensional vision and protection. It is a meditation on the sacred nature of this precious metal, as well as the notorious social and environmental impact that greed from gold mining has had on Indigenous lands of the Philippines and Colorado.

For centuries in the Visayas (a central archipelago in the Philippines), the living placed gold masks modeled after human eyes and nose on the faces of the dead. Under Spanish occupation between the 16th and 19th century, many sacred Indigenous burial sites in the Philippines and Spanish colonies in the Americas were plundered for gold, which was subsequently melted down and shipped back to Europe to fuel the global trade economy. In Breckenridge, which was founded on Ute land, gold mining and the subsequent hard rock and hydraulic mining of the late 1800s had a devastating impact on Indigenous people, thousands of whom were forcibly removed by the U.S. government after calling this region home since the beginning of time. 

Taking inspiration from the traditions of her Visayan ancestors, Camille Hoffman uses reclaimed metal to adorn groves of trees with golden eye masks. The symbol of eyes is understood by many Filipinos to hold deep meaning as a portal of communication between the living and the dead in material form. Soft Gaze invites an eye-to-eye meeting between forest and humans, as well as an offering of appreciation and protection from unnatural cycles of destruction.

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Photo credit: Stephen Heraldo

ABOUT Camille Hoffman 

Camille Hoffman (b.1987 Chicago, IL) earned an MFA from Yale University (2015), a BFA from California College of the Arts (2009), and was a recipient of the Carol Schlosberg Memorial Prize for excellence in painting from Yale University, a National Endowment for the Arts scholarship, a Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, and the Van Lier Fellowship from the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD). She has exhibited her work throughout the United States and abroad, and has been featured in publications including Art in America, the Los Angeles Times, Hyperallergic, and The New Yorker. Solo exhibitions include Motherlands at Form & Concept (2022), See and Missed at San Luis Obispo Museum of Art (2022), Landing For Lolo at NADA House Governors Island (2021), Excelsior: Ever Upward, Ever Afloat at the Queens Museum (2019), and Pieceable Kingdom at the Museum of Arts and Design, New York, NY (2018). Hoffman has been an artist-in-residence at Fountainhead, Miami, FL (2021), Lower Manhattan Cultural Council SU-CASA (2019), Children’s Museum of Manhattan, New York, NY (2018), Wave Hill Winter Workspace, Bronx, NY (2018), QueenSpace, Long Island City, NY (2017), Museum of Arts and Design, New York, NY (2017), and Yale University Office of New Haven and State Affairs, New Haven, CT (2015). Hoffman has also worked for over 16 years as an arts educator in Phoenix, the SF Bay Area, New Haven, and New York City. She currently lives and works in New York, NY and teaches at The Cooper Union.