Off Script and Unexpected

October 28, 2023, to January 7, 2024

A selection of sculptures by Rochester artist Lee Hoag will be on display in the Davis Family Gallery at the Schweinfurth Art Center.

Hoag will be giving an Artist’s Talk at 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 16, 2023, at the Schweinfurth. The talk is free with Schweinfurth admission.

Artist’s Statement

My mixed-media assemblage sculptures draw on the limitless capacity of ordinary objects for the poetic. Through them I examine the linguistic and psychological shift that occurs when assorted objects meld together and take shape in novel forms — off script and unexpected, unbound from utility.

I explore this conceptual mutability found in unique and common household and industrial objects and materials. Glass, wood, rubber, fur, metal, and ceramic objects serve as my primary media. I exploit their shapes, colors, textures, and materiality. Orchestrated together, they comprise something foreign to their intended purpose, while retaining an inkling of familiarity.

The objects initiate the process by hooking me. From my interaction and through discovery, they inspire and drive design. Composition and craft hold together the multiple components. Illusory devices make these resulting forms of my unconscious appear seamless, as if the various parts belonged to each other.

My distinctive sculptures, from handheld to life-size, can evoke a kind of internal free association by the viewer, engaging their own cultivated power to invent stories and to construct internal narratives for what they see. Art is a work of magic, between the artist and the artwork, and the artwork and the viewer.

About the Artist

Lee Hoag is a multi-media artist. He was born in Tucson, AZ, in 1958. His father, Dr. Ralph L. Hoag was a pioneer in education for the deaf, whose career moved the family to Washington, DC, then to Rochester and back to Tucson. Hoag recalls, “My dad played a prominent role in the U.S. Office of Education, which in 1965 established the National Technical Institute for the Deaf, and was instrumental in locating NTID in Rochester.” The family lived there eight years. Hoag began his pursuit of art as a young teenager in 1973, rooted in Western New York.

Hoag got his BFA in Painting in 1979 from San Francisco Art Institute, where he studied with renowned Funk artists William Geis, Franklin Williams, Carlos Villa and Robert Hudson, as well as painters Tom Holland, Hassel Smith and Sam Tchakalian. Though he was accepted into the MFA program, Hoag decided to return east. He got married and began a family. In the 1980s, he trained at NTID as an American Sign Language interpreter, and in 1992 got a Master’s in Art Education from Rochester Institute of Technology.

In 2016, Hoag retired from a 30-year career as an ASL interpreter in schools throughout the Rochester area, and now focuses on making art. His sculptures have garnered awards in numerous juried exhibitions. He has exhibited throughout the state of New York, nationally in several states, both East and West, as well as internationally in Leipzig and London.

Hoag has worked with various materials and formats, including video and multimedia installation. In 2010, he returned to creating mixed-media sculptures, using collected objects in assemblage. He says at the heart of his work is “an examination of the linguistic and psychological shift that happens when assorted objects, each with its own history, meld together and take shape in novel forms — off script and unexpected, unbound from utility.

Learn more about Hoag