Local artist, Ani Hoover has fond memories of spending time with her grandmother crocheting, and learning how to sew with her mother. These nostalgic moments were so embedded into her repertoire that five years ago, she decided to start incorporating into her art practice. She remembers back in art school distinctly not associating these skills with a fine art practice, even though her college offered fiber classes. She studied painting instead and continued with that medium until recently, when her studio practice took a turn.
Around 2010, Hoover started using recycled materials that she manipulated into art objects, and now 50% of her materials for projects can be contributed to found, donated, recycled, or inexpensive materials that are readily available to the public. She views her personal philosophy as “giving new life and meaning” to the common everyday object that we may overlook as simple and mundane.
In Hoover’s current body of work at the Buffalo Arts Studio, Craft Art Field Day, the combination of sculpture and textile explode into massive wall and ceiling hanging works, and sprawling floor flower sculptures that utilize a rainbow of dyed felt that beautify the otherwise dead space of the gray concrete floor. Some of you may have seen her other flower sculptures that were made from bicycle tire inner tubes in past shows. These felt flowers carry you away into another world, where maybe only Alice has visited. A benefit about these sculptures is that they are small enough to fit in any room of your house, plus their prices start at only $60 per flower. I will definitely be purchasing at least one of these for my collection. They are exquisite.
In addition to the textile-based sculpture throughout the galleries, there are several interactive stations with small and large looms, and an embroidery table where guests can contribute to a public work. Hoover’s goal with these collaborative pieces is to “reconnect people to their roots and memories,” kind of like how she went through that process in her studio. She sees these works as a cross-generational project that can facilitate communication between friends, family members, acquaintances and strangers.
Hoover’s collaborative projects have traveled around Buffalo and the Northeast. Recently, Hoover traveled to Pennsylvania and had a residency with a public school, where all 600 students, teachers and parent volunteers participated in creating 10 public art sized string art mandalas on the school’s lawn. This project blended math, art, and physical education for the students, who were able to get outside of the classroom, and work collaboratively in producing something larger together. Hoover describes the experience as heartwarming.
“It was amazing to work with such open and dedicated teachers as the ones in Williamsport, PA. It was rewarding to be able to bring the Craft Art Field Day experience to them, that’s what it’s all about-people having a shared experience while making art!”
Craft Art Field Day, will be on view at the Buffalo Arts Studio (2495 Main Street, suite 500) through November 7. Their gallery hours are: Tuesday-Friday 11am-5pm, and Saturday 10am-2pm. BAS will also be hosting a couple events this month in conjunction with the exhibit:
- Family Day at the Gallery, Saturday, October 15, 1-3pm. Families with children and members of all ages are invited to this free event, where the artist will be on site to guide you through the various interactive stations.
- Retro Craft Night, M&T Fourth Friday event, Friday, October 28, 5-8pm. Bring your date or best friend to BAS, where you can snack on delicious edibles from Ashker’s, sip on wine, and unleash your inner 9 year old on craft projects inspired by your childhood such as Shrinky Dinks, beading and plastic canvases.
You can also check out other work and happenings with Ani Hoover here:
- Upcoming solo exhibit, Accumulate, at Paul William Betz Family Art Gallery at the Villa Maria College Gallery, opening October 21, from 5:30-7:30pm. Show runs through November 18.
- A public lecture on Craft Art Field Day Hoover at Niagara Community College, Art Department in the F Building at NCCC, October 25, at 3pm.
- Group Exhibit at Studio Hart, Art Toy, opening November 4, 6-9pm. Show runs through November 26.
- Group Exhibit at Indigo Art Gallery, Intent, show runs November 11- December 17, with an opening reception Nov 11 and a First Friday event on Dec 2. Visit indigoartbuffalo.com for more information.
If you would like to learn more about Ani, visit her here: anihoover.com.