AXOM Gallery is pleased to present ‘Object Alchemy’ by Rochester based artist Lee Hoag. Through experimentation and intuitive invention ‘Object Alchemy’ consists of objects that initially were made for other intended purposes altered to carry new meaning and associations, enhanced by the witty play on words naming the titles.  Each work is carefully crafted in form with shape, line, material and scale. “The essential ingredient is the transmutation of the object parts in which new relationships emerge and meaning alters.” – L. Hoag

A sense of the uncanny is unavoidable with vague recognition and familiarity in the object parts; they become assimilated into another created language, forms and associations.  With titles like “Every Witch Way”, “Split the Difference” and “Cut Loose the work references, humorously, the psychology of taking decisive action in moments of life transformations. Hoags work has a rich history in the “readymade”, surrealism and the unconscious.  Using found objects as material, he interchanges them and formulates them in his creative process, this he refers to as “alchemy of objects” – the transformation that occurs from utilitarian objects when they are reconfigured into a hybrid form, an object of art.

Lee Hoag was born in 1958 in Arizona and now resides in Rochester, NY.  In 1979 he received his B.F.A. in painting from the San Francisco Art Institute where he studied with famed instructors such as Hassel Smith, one of the pioneers and masters of West Coast Abstract Expressionism. Other acclaimed artists, such as: Tom Holland and Sam Tchakalian, Funk movement sculptor-painters Robert Hudson, Carlos Villa, and Bill Geis with whom he first studied sculpture, were all major influences.  He went on to receive his master’s degree in art education from the Rochester Institute of Technology. With an art career spanning over 30 years Hoag has exhibited works throughout Rochester, Delaware, Connecticut, North Carolina, Arizona and California. Hoag has also been invited to create public works for the outdoor sculpture park in Leipzig, Germany (where he immersed in a week long artist residency) and outdoor work for Rochester, NY’s Highland Park Lilac Festival. Two of his sculptures were selected for the 64th Rochester – Finger Lakes Exhibition at the Memorial Art Gallery. In 2013 he received the Dean Spong Collector’s Choice Award during the 23rd Annual Members Exhibition at the Rochester Contemporary Art Center. Hoags Father Dr. Ralph L. Hoag was one of the  visionaries  instrumental in establishing the National Technical Institute for the Deaf located at the Rochester Institute of Technology and was awarded the 1997 RIT Presidential Medallion. When he is not creating artworks Lee Hoag spends his days as an ASL educational interpreter in Rochester area school districts, following the legacy his father left behind.

A dialogue ensues. Morphology altered, they exist now as noble objects of contemplation, eliciting interaction, bearing resemblance to that which comes from my unconscious self, shaped by the hand of my personal aesthetic, marked in some way by the viewer’s own response, imaginations and interpretations—changed.”

 –Lee Hoag

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Split the Difference, 2014
Found Objects
30.5” h x 15” w x 15” d

Photo Credit: All photographs of Lee Hoag’s work were taken by Fred Sanfilipo