Holding a mirror up to our surroundings isn’t just an idea for Kevin Hoth. In his series Everywhere and All at Once, shown at the Griffin in 2018, Hoth uses a mirror to give us that fuller view. Reflection is important, especially now, in so many ways. In seeing the landscape as a fully sensory lived and shared experience, Kevin has given us a way to experience light and life in a new way. His image highlighted in our Corona exhibition, Overdub, is a perfect example of light and the ideas of Corona.
How does light play in your work?
It’s funny, I almost never think about it but that is because I am so intimately involved with it on a daily basis. Light is always the raw material in my work, of course, though I don’t generally make work about it unless it relates to a particular project I am working on. During this time of coronavirus I have indeed been tracking the shadows in my home as a way to trace time. There is an arrangement of oblique light that falls on my daughter’s piano that I jokingly call “cubist piano time.” I’ve thought about making an image every time it falls like this and then create a tiled image of all of these fractured pianos. Some plant shadows have featured in some of my work but it usually is just for play or observational practice with an instant film camera. We are also creatures borne of light. All the sustenance that we require comes from sunlight.
We are featuring your image Overdub, from your series Everywhere and All at Once. Your creation of a visual landscape that incorporates multiple directions showcases a unique way of seeing. How did you find your vision? What was the first image in the series that pushed you forward to work that way?
I have always enjoyed noticing other spaces in reflections. About ten years ago I made some images looking into windows and I thought about how there were three spaces represented: the surface of the glass (a flat space but still a space to be rendered), what was inside the building, and what was behind me. So I think the consciousness of multiple spaces within one frame, from one vantage point was a growing seed inside me. The Everywhere And All At Once project really came from a mix of play and accident which is where all great discoveries come from. I was experimenting with mirrors back in 2012 for about a year and then set it aside as I didn’t know where it was going. Later a friend asked about the series so I picked up the mirror again and took it with me on hikes and road trips. I made an image of a mountain side connecting to a cloud, then one horizon line connecting into another and that is where my “ah-ha moment” occurred. As a photographic observer I often feel like I can see everything at once at one time. It’s almost a physical sensation. This project is a way for me to evoke that sensation. I also feel most alive in open, natural spaces and the expansiveness is something I am trying to show albeit from my singular vantage point.
Does the use of the mirror also hold a metaphorical gaze for you? In how we look at landscapes? What would you like viewers of your work to walk away with after seeing your photographs?
I suppose I’d like people to see what I see or at least feel some sensation of how I observe. I want the gaze here to be almost a disembodied or maybe a universal one. Although I am conscious that not all people have the same comfort level or privilege of being alone in a landscape. Some have noted a visual fragmentation in these images which one could liken to a Cubist viewpoint. Again, the idea here is merging several angles of view into one image even though I am combining them in one instant. I have made more of a conceptual connection to the way people often view landscapes through a phone screen. I’ve made a fair amount of this work in National Parks and when you stop at a prescribed viewpoint you see the phenomenon of the quick phone grab. We often are too busy looking through our phones to frame the right shot. Of course, I am also “guilty” as I am meditating my view through a camera.
In this time of Corona, how do you find light in your day?
I appreciate small things maybe in the same way a child would. Light falling on the floor from my skylight, shadows from a tree shifting on my window shades in the afternoon. A red-orange poppy coming up in my yard is a celebration for me. Color fills me up in extremely energizing ways. My current work is around flowers and I am endlessly fascinated by them. My daughter is also a constant source of joy and light for me. I’m not sure how I would be doing without long hugs with her.
What is next for you creatively? What are you working on?
I have been experimenting with instant film for quite some time and am currently working on a series called Immortal Chromatic. I photograph flowers that keep their color even after dying and then I create large instant film mosaics from these source images. I cut and burn the instant film “tiles” as they develop. The theme of creation and destruction has been part of this work with flowers across multiple projects. I am also integrating paint and thread into these physical pieces as well. They are photographs but they are also sculptural objects.
about Kevin Hoth –
Kevin Hoth is an artist working with photography, video and performance. His current work deals with perception and the manner in which multiple spaces can be formed into a singular frame. Kevin also works heavily with deconstructed instant film to explore themes of creation/destruction, truth as it is represented in photography, as well as beauty and transience.
Kevin has shown work in over one hundred exhibitions nationally and internationally, including recent exhibitions at The Dairy Center for the Arts, The Rhode Island Center for Photography, The Houston Center for Photography, and The Center For Fine Art Photography. His work will be part of the Qualities of LIGHT symposium at the Center for Creative Photography in Tucson in January of 2020. Recent awards include Top 200 Critical Mass, Center For Fine Art Photography Portfolio Showcase 12 and top ten finalist in the New Orleans Photo Alliance 2018 Clarence John Laughlin Award. Kevin recently completed an artist residency in January of 2019 in Brazil and explored how varied perceptions of time can be represented.
Kevin has taught college courses in photography, graphic design, and multimedia art at numerous universities and currently teaches at the University of Colorado Boulder where he has taught since 2011. He lives with his daughter in mountainous Boulder, CO and gets regularly woken up by coyote cries, owl hoots, and horse whinnies.
Fun facts: He did a stint as a full-time graphic designer for an Amazon.com company, made an interactive garment with force sensors that played odd bodily noises back in 2006, collaborated extensively with a modern dance company as a VJ, and played bass in a Seattle band that once played live on KEXP-Seattle.