Alan Soffer

 

 

Alan Soffer has been making art since 1973, in a variety of modalities. Originally, he was known for ceramic sculpture, particularly, religious ritual objects and later for work about ancient healing , deconstruction, and fragmented imagery. His work as teacher and curator continues to augment his primary passion for abstract expressionist painting which began in 1985.  His studies in sculpture and painting include Arrowmont School in Tenn., 1981 with Lew Snyder; State U of New York, Oswego with Richard Zakin; Parsons School of Design with Andrea Gill, 1983; Bennington College with Sandy Slone; Corcoran Museum School of Art with Paul Soldner, Peters Valley Art Center 1986 with Bennett Bean; Penna. Academy of Fine Arts, 1988, 1996, 1999; Ringling School of Design, MLAC with Moe Brooker

Soffer’s work is clearly influenced by abstract expressionists of the past century, such as, Rauschenberg, Rivers, Frankenthaler, Motherwell, Chagall, Dubuffet, Keifer, Mondrian, and Polke. The seminal work that defined Soffer in the early nineties was about ancient healing. Current emphasis on encaustics is a perfect marriage of his two loves- sculpture and painting.

The other major direction of Soffer’s work in the nineties was ‘the life cycle’, which was inspired through the teachings of Joseph Campbell. This work includes extensive treatment of creation theories, life and deconstruction, and finally rebirth. These subjects required research into science, primitive cultures and the ancient world, before, digesting and expressing the most salient features visually. Soffer continues to find Campbell his most important mentor.

Exhibitions have traveled throughout the US, Argentina, Cuba, France, & Kurdistan. Significant exhibitions have been at Widener University, Delaware Center for Contemporary Art, National Museum of American Jewish History, Hoyt Institute, Atlantic City Art Center, Gallery Sakiko, NYC, Delaware Art Museum, West Chester State U., Villanova U., York College, Penn State College, Penna. Academy of Fine Arts, the Print Center, Parallels Gallery, State Museum of Penna., Rosenfeld Gallery, and Robert Roman Gallery.

Soffer’s use of encaustics began in 1998 and continues to be an integral feature of his oeuvre. Reduction and distillation both buries and exposes bits of his images and sentiments infused in the multilayered paintings. Use of this ancient, hot pigmented wax technique supports his vocabulary for expressing space through its inherent translucency. Space, from the microscopic to the galactic, is a constant theme.

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Soffer agrees with Carter Ratcliff’s point of view, when he said, “It’s a mistake to take the artist’s statements at face value. These statements are products of the imagination and so need to be interpreted along with the art.” With that idea in mind, the following remarks by four art critics are included.

VICTORIA DONOHUE /   PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER [2003, Widener University]

“Soffer is serious artist with a truly poetic gift for making his paintings coalesce into visions of quite remarkable beauty. He is a colorist and very versatile in this; he uses color exuberantly and paints seemingly with abandon, yet his results are nonetheless strongly rhythmic. Such paintings project an engaging physicality, even though they rely on swift effects to declare their presence as the shapes move back and forth between realistic portrayals of the human figure and abstraction- with the accent on abstraction.”

R.B. STRAUSS / METRO PAPER [2002 Parallels Gallery]

“Layers of color lend his art a sense of depth while the choreography of his brushwork yields a dynamic flow from one painting to the next. This sense of traveling into uncharted territory is what makes his work so unique.”

ANNE FABBRI / STYLE MAGAZINE [LBI Foundation]

“Highlights of the show created by the Puffin Foundation (Toxic Landscapes) include three haunting Soffer paintings that depict environments within the lifecycle. He finishes the surface with pencil, paint photographs in these mixed media drawings and collages.”

JANET PURCELL / THE TIMES [Canvassing the Coast]

“Soffer reaches down into his memories, in the manner of abstract expressionism. Symbolistic strokes fly around on the surface and drama is in every stroke.”

Alan Soffer CV