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Language Constructs 2021

Language Constructor 2022

Christopher Hoot (c. 1964-)


Christopher Hoot describes himself as a "visual communicator," a designation that reflects his education and practice as a designer (he graduated from Yale's M.F.A. program in graphic design) who sees his primary role as that of creating or enabling communication.  Typically, designers distinguish their tasks as being carried out at the behest of someone else, a client, rather than the straightforward self-expression that many self-described artists claim. Hoot also earned a B.A. from Indiana University in art and design and took drawing, sculpture and printmaking classes at Yale. 

Now teaching art and design at the University of Akron's Myers School of Art, Hoot also coordinates the Foundations 2D Design and the B.A. Studio Art Programs.  His research and creative practice focus on visual rhetoric, "making connections between verbal and visual devices to enrich expression in graphic and visual communication design."

Where you can see more of this artists work:

More of Christopher Hoot's artwork can be seen on his websiteAs a designer, he has produced designs for clients throughout northeastern Ohio such as the Akron Art Museum, the Allen Memorial Art Museum at Oberlin College, West Point Market in Akron, Children's Ballet Theatre, the Myers School of Art (Univ. of Akron), and the Akron Civic Theatre.  He also designs books, catalogues, and other categories of printed matter, plus he is involved with environmental design projects that includes exhibitions (such as the Akron Art Museum's John Heartfelt vs Nazi Germany in 2008), signage, and corporate identity. 


Language Constructor

Language Constructor 2022

Materials: Low relief assemblage, collage and marbled digital print mounted on wood panel 16" x 48"x 2"

Location at Summa:  Akron City Hosptial 2 East

About the art and the artist:

This elongated panel is composed of a series of rectilinear, abstractly patterned and colored shapes, along with what looks like a drawing of a more industrial, wire-like spool at left and a rounded shape edged to suggest a leaf, at right.  Some of the color shapes fold out from the horizontal ground or base to occupy three-dimensional space, overlapping and casting shadows, while the wire-like two-dimensional forms against the grey background -- which are digitally printed -- undulate and swim. Genial warm yellows, oranges, and pinks highlight the volumetric effects and contrast with the cooler colors throughout the rest of this assemblage.

Assemblages began (usually credited to Pablo Picasso) as constructions of hanging, three-dimensional found objects, a variety of collage.  Christopher Hoot does not use found objects but makes his own parts to be assembled instead, the results being varied forms -- some simple, some complex -- created with contemporary techniques such as digital drawing programs and acrylic paint.

These are then "constructed" -- a process reflected in the title of this and Hoot's other piece in the Summa Collection -- on a wood panel for base, 'though some of that construction involves digital printing rather than working with three-dimensional form. The panel comfortably conforms to our expectations for a wall-mounted work of art, but the abstract forms, both two- and three-dimensional, play with our sense of space through contrasts of line, shape, and color, through light and shadow, and through illusionism in the drawing.

Where you can see more art like this:

The Summa Collection features works of collage by artists Marvin JonesJulie FriedmanLainard Bush, and Natalie Petroskyand small assemblages by artist Lynn O'BrienAnd the National Collage Society has its home in nearby Hudson.

Language Constructs

Language Constructs 2021

Materials: Low relief assemblage, collage and marbled digital print mounted on wood panel 16” x 48" x 2"

Location at Summa:  Barberton Joint Center of Excellence, main hallway

About the art and artist:

In this large canvas on wood, Christopher Hoot draws digitally with bold lines several complicated and vaguely architectural or industrial forms that he then sets on top of laser-cut layers of solid acrylic color, all against a background of swirling, abstract hues that replicate the effects of the venerable tradition of marbling (as in making marbled endpapers for books). The new jostles against the old.

The linear forms (appear to) have been generated by vector graphics, one of Hoot's preferred tools, and each piece of the "construct" seems to rest upon a dark shelf, almost as though on display.  This is where we have to refer to the work's title: There's "language," which is obviously central to communication, but is "constructs" a noun, or is it the verb that declares that language builds things?  This ambiguity suits the indeterminacy of the visual here, where solid acrylic planes come in various colors and transparencies and at some places seem to slide through the linear/vector-graphic forms, contradicting any notion of solidity.

Introducing his website, Hoot refers to "random chance encounters - inspired by music and architectural design" as the subject matter of his artmaking. In fact, there is something chaotically musical in the floating, tumbling forms that spill across his panel. And it seems that this piece, as with others he has created recently, especially celebrates the accumulation of multiple processes with resulting synergies in techniques, materials, and media.  How much is possible, how much is too much, and what we are to understand by all this doing and making?


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