Wave Book I by Barbara Hocker.

Wave Book I by Barbara Hocker.

By Tricia Haggerty-Wenz

There would be no life without water. It is the essence of everything” — Barbara A. Hocker

Trained as a fiber artist, Hocker weaves and layers photos, prints and paintings together, creating works on paper, panels and books. These are her visual expression of skies, waterfalls, streams, rivers, lakes, and the sea. Her exhibition, “Ebb & Flow,” opens on the Hartford Public Library ArtWalk with a reception Friday, Dec. 2, from 5:30-7:30 pm at the Downtown Library, 500 Main St. It will remain installed through Jan. 22.

The following interview had been edited for length and clarity.

I love this exhibit. I am excited to learn more about you and your process.

Thank you.

You went to school for fiber arts your current work is photography and painting, Tell me about that transition.

In college I concentrated on tapestry weaving, printmaking and handmaking paper. After college I went in the direction of sculpture and now I’ve pretty much come back to paper and printmaking in a different way, working with monotypes – where you don’t need a press to print.

How so?

My use of digital photography has me thinking more like a printmaker than a photographer. Cutting the paper in strips and weaving it together has actually brought me back to my roots and education around weaving.

Barbara Hocker.

Barbara Hocker.

The colors of the work are beautiful. Being in the presence of this exhibit you can’t help but feel calm and centered.

I like the subtle colors of the blues and the greens combined. I spent my childhood near the ocean. These colors remind me of the ocean and of water in all of its forms  salt water marshes, waterfalls, lakes.  I create monotype prints inspired by the photographs, I cut the prints/photos into strips and weave them together and mount them on a panel. The final part of the process is the encaustic wax. The magic of the encaustic wax is that it causes the rice paper to disappear so the images meld together, which creates a dreamlike experience. The layers of my work, combining photography, painting and printmaking, connecting abstract and realism  highlights the complexities of nature.

You practice Tai chi. How does your practice inform you art?

I studied yoga and my practice led me to Tai chi which I’ve been practicing for the past 12 years. Both combine energy and breath, gathering energy into your body and moving it around for balance and health. Through my Tai chi I’ve learned to take my internal energy and express it into the world through my art. So, when I am taking photographs, I try to connect with the energy of nature and the place on that day.

What do you hope for the viewers experiencing this exhibit?

I hope they are inspired to notice nature in their daily lives, to stop and appreciate the beauty around them, as well as think about the importance of water in our lives. There would be no life without water. It is the essence of everything

Along with the ocean, libraries also played a vital role in your childhood.

I spent a great deal of time in my public library growing up. My older sisters both worked at the library and the oldest even became a librarian.

I love exhibiting my work in the ArtWalk gallery at the Hartford Public Library.  With the big windows it provides a greater connection with the outside world than there would be with four white walls. It’s cool to see how the time of day and amount of light play a part in how the viewer experiences the art.  Also, the gallery is a part of this unique ecosystem which allows my work to reach a wider audience and be a part of people’s everyday living.

So, what does this ArtWalk exhibit mean to you?

I am taking my childhood  spending my time by the ocean and in libraries  and I am weaving them together to make books. It all lines up.

Barbara will be leading a Zen yoga and Qi Gong workshop for health and energy on the ArtWalk on Jan. 14. Register HERE.

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