False Flag proudly presents Camille Hoffman’s first solo New York gallery show — 'Rockabye My Bedrock Bones'.
'Beachcombers', a 1956 painting by Hoffman’s late grandmother, hangs at the show’s heart —in acknowledgement of its role as the exhibition’s catalyst. As Hoffman puts it: “I developed this installation thinking about both my body and my landscapes as vessels of creative inheritance.” With her grandmother, Shoshannah (1921-1998), as lodestar, Hoffman reconfigures the gallery into a site of personal archaeology, expanding her landscape work in a matrilineal excavation. This conceptual approach is most strikingly applied to the previously all-white gallery walls: painted “the colors of my skin throughout the seasons and under varying degrees of light and pressure, to match the sand in Shoshannah’s painting and the papers, plastics, paints of my landscapes.” These paintings cover over 3,000 square feet of wall-space in a striated palette of browns, olives, and peaches. Enfolded in an infinite, fleshy ground, “the space wears you,” as Hoffman says. Her topographical paintings read as birthmarks, extending and punctuating the tones and textures of the walls. While honest, the work is never obvious: running across the gallery floor, Hoffman forms her “dunes” from the actual tarps used in painting the walls. Detritus is not simply relocated, nor is the show a literal facsimile: there are no props, no gimmicks.
For Hoffman, “this show is an exploration of my landscape work as a for m of creative and biological unearthing—an interior reinvention and reconfiguration of past ruins.” In a 1956 issue of Art in America, Shoshannah stated: "Painting, to me, is an extension of living, and interwoven into the life process, not a thing apart from it." Just as her grandmother—born Susannah S. Siporin in 1921—refashioned fragments of her given name to forge an identity of her own, adopting Shoshannah in 1943—Hoffman repurposes the physical substance of her life to similar effect.
“Disposable things take on different meaning when one separates an object from its market value,” Hoffman explains. “How do I create value? Personal value, economic value—how do I support myself? I have to be resourceful. Everything matters.” By “laying claim to the space,” Hoffman form s a new economy: one in which material is measured by its inherent physical properties—a particular color, transparency, texture, visual effect or structure—rather than its transactional worth. The overlooked becomes valuable; the seemingly discardable earns respect. Hoffman’s bracingly honest approach reflects a fundamental aim of her practice: the reclamation of agency through confrontation and acknowledgement of her everyday experience.
Grounded in accumulation, personal narrative, and historical critique, Hoffman describes her practice as “a ceremony of reconfiguration and critical reflection on the themes of diaspora, domesticity, and disposability.” Composing her work with material collected from her daily life, Hoffman’s media range from medical records, credit card offers, calendars, plastic bags, tablecloths, found photos, maps, to paint. Hoffman draws on her family’s creative legacy, along with traditional painting techniques from her academic training, employing resonant visual and historical references: Philippine weaving, Jewish folk traditions, and American landscape paintings of the 19th century. Re-contextualizing these figurative, nostalgic, and abstract cultural fragments, Hoffman forms layered, richly-textured geographies, charting new territory that is at once surreal and familiar.
The exhibition is on view from September 21 through November 4.