Richard Francis Hofmann 1954-1994
Born in Newark, New Jersey in 1954, Richard’s unusual talents were evident early on, with his first watercolor show at the age of three. at George Washington University and later earning a BFA in Painting from the Pratt Institute, he was also the recipient of a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant in 1989.
After moving to Avenue C in Alphabet City, Hofmann worked as an art installer and art assistant while continuing his own career as a fine artist. A familiar figure in the East Village art scene for many years, Richard’s savage style of Neo-Expressionist figurative painting earned him a place among the “New Irascibles” showcased in Arts Magazine in 1985.
He worked in media such as film, sculpture, photo lithography, watercolors, collage charcoal and even clothing. His murals decorated clubs over the years such as Club 57, The Pyramid Lounge, Danceteria and the Roxy. But his forte was oil painting, and it is in the large 9x15 canvases that his technique is most evident and his message most revealing.
He was featured in solo shows at notable Lower East Side venues such as Limbo Gallery, ABC NO RIO and the Steven Adams Gallery. Hofmann participated in numerous group shows including "Pain and Pleasure" alongside Robert Mapplethorpe at Fashion Moda (1984), "Figures" at Green Street Gallery (1983) and "Famous and Infamous" (1983) at Gracie Mansion Gallery
A ceaseless and prolific painter, the art of Richard Hofmann provides an unflinching window onto the tragic world of the young gay artist caught up in the AIDS epidemic which devastated New York just at the time as this unprecedented art scene was blossoming.
A contemporary and personal friend of David Wojnarowicz and many other artists who suffered the same fate, Hofmann’s work is a rare time-capsule of work whose bold colors and iconoclastic themes leap off the canvas perhaps even more today than back then.
His style has often been characterized as owing to the school of Neo-Expressionism, but his unique use of distorted figures and a multiplicity of baleful human faces is nowhere to be found except in his own work. One critic noted that Hofmann “tackled the larger questions of sin and redemption, religion and homosexuality, suffering and ecstasy with fervid brushstrokes and layers of intense color.”
The Figure — the breath of man himself — is an amazing study!
And the humans have become hollow and dispassionate…
I paint MAN: with fear, and desire.
And the crowded compositions are the souls of the people that barrage thought and memory in daily course.