Covid has prompted many of us, including artists, to focus attentions close to home – to the places we inhabit. Our urban environments are so heavily modified and designed for human use, we can become blind to the natural world living right alongside us – and on which we are dependent.
In these paintings, the cut native flowers and gum leaves speak for themselves. Painted quickly and reverently before they wilt and die, the plain background and simple glass vases offer no additional ornamentation or sentimentality. Nevertheless, the works immediately speak of intimacy, expressing the heart of a home.
Hochman has taken a uniform compositional approach to this series which only serves to underline the uniqueness of the depicted floral types, and the incredible biodiversity of Australian flora. The simple presentation of native flowers in this way provides a subtle provocation on our emotional and cultural relationships to native landscapes – are we able to decolonise a European gaze to cherish and appreciate the local landscapes we inhabit as they have evolved over millenia? To truly bring Australian flora into the heart of our homes? The inclusion of roses within the series extends this speculation. The roses float freely and dreamily, as if buoyed by the centuries of European romantic cultural associations.
While founded in realism and keen observation, the artist has balanced representation with a painterly materialism. The paintings are translations, memory keepers of ephemeral florescence. They are interlocuters forging our private notion of home, offering keys to the living natural world around us and to the symbolic and imaginative garden within.
Beth Jackson, March 2021
Arts Writer and Curator, Artfully, Brisbane