Exhibition Pick: Miro Hoffmann

Brooke Schueller visits an exhibition by Miro Hoffmann that asks viewers to get their hands dirty.

Miro Hoffmann, VEGGI Farms III. New Orleans East. Courtesy the artist and 5 Press Gallery, New Orleans.

Miro Hoffmann
5 Press Gallery
5 Press Street
January 9 - March 5, 2016

The garden always precedes the party—literally, if we’re joining each other around the table to dine on fresh vegetables, or metaphorically, when the seeds of friendships and shared passions we’ve sown begin to sprout. The garden is the genesis—the pregame, if you will.

Miro Hoffmann’s exhibition at 5 Press Gallery, “Sustainable Development,” examines the rise of urban farms in post-Katrina New Orleans. And though the artist is more concerned with social justice than fanfare or revelry, Hoffman paints his subjects in flashes of color befitting a cascade of confetti. Most of the urban farms in Hoffmann’s paintings hide in the city’s most unassuming corners, as do many of his subjects; beekeepers and heaps of compost take center stage. But the manner in which he paints them pays homage to the quiet but quality impact these small gardens have had on a post-disaster landscape.

In 8230 Forshey St. NOLA, Hoffmann depicts a vacant lot he regularly passes on his way to Hollygrove Market and Farm in bright colors and angular, abstract blocks, transforming an otherwise unremarkable piece of ground into something surreal and beautiful. He dresses a gangly plant in green and yellow finery, where it dances over a tarp of blue, purple, and pink hues. Even the long flank of a shotgun house—with one of its windows broken—somehow appears festive, as if it had one too many last night.

Forget the club; the party starts right here, with your fingers in the dirt. The gallery is even offering free seeds, courtesy of Parkway Partners, if you care to throw your own.