THE CURATORS AND CRITICS SAY………
....Hoffman balance(s) intent with the uncontrolled, carefully guiding chance to craft sculptures that evoke a visceral and emotional response, stopping just short of dictating what that response should be.....
Judy Hoffman’s hand-built works draw much influence through the process of creation. Her pieces are torn and stabbed, seeming almost crude and vulgar at first. They speak of both disintegration and rebuilding—being pieced together with mismatched, discarded, eroded components. This produces a feeling of discomfort—if only briefly—as they refuse to be self-aware or shy from challenging us with their imperfection. They are liberated from having to mimic any form. Her sculptures are raw, but one quickly realizes that the work has been crafted with a tender regard to reveal the richness and beauty within their chaos.
Lesley Heller Gallery (NYC); "Coarse Fragility", 2020 press release; Curator: Monika Zarzeczna
Her ceramic sculptures are highly imaginative and technically complex while appearing offhand and unstudied. They transport the viewer into tabletop landscapes, to visit fantastical structures and wander through blasted but weirdly verdant spaces.
Susan M. Vogel, former: Curator of African Art, Metropolitan Museum; director Yale University Art Gallery 2018
...large bricolage sculptures that are highly constructed and yet seamless autonomous works....As a result, her work represents a dream of playful environments that are other-worldly, lively, biological and urban.
Adam Welch, Director, Greenwich House Pottery, NYC 2017
Judy Hoffman’s ceramic sculptures use the malleability of clay to evoke ancient, caked, and encrusted organisms arising from primordial ooze.
Jackie Battenfield,curator,“Natural Allusions”,(Addison/Ripley Fine Art,Washington, D.C.) 2015
Hoffman’s sculptures and installations are less concerned with the beauty, organization and patterns inherent in nature than with organic growth and exploding past set constraints. Her installations and more recently, small ceramics, take into account the entire life cycle, with life giving way to decay, then birth to new life and growth.
Lisa Hatchatorian, curator, “Beyond Natural”, (University of North Texas, Denton, TX) 2013
…In her installation, Hoffman has transformed our leftovers, creating a wild, visual playground underscored with cultural oddities and subtle humor.
Marion Belanger, curator, Guilford Art Center, (Guilford, CT) 2005
Hoffman has formalized her materials, taking them from a variety of places, so that the industrial objects seem intriguing rather than eyesores.
William Zimmer, The New York Times 2004
Her fascination with making things is evident in the magical way that she combines and constructs disparate elements. Hoffman sees the potential for abject scavenged objects to become something else. It’s as if a crumpled piece of wire calls out to her from the sidewalk, “I’m lively. Take me. I could be something”.
Jennifer McGregor, curator, Wave Hill, (Bronx, NY) 2004
The debris of everyday life forms the basis of Judy Hoffman’s gestural environment. Artistically revitalized salvage materials become metaphors for a rhythmic life flow by means of a “drawing in space.”
C. Mecklenburg, The General Anzeiger (Bonn, Germany) 2004
Hoffman continues to plow nature’s debris and colors into the lively forms and organic surfaces of her increasingly complex environmental installations so that even in downtown Manhattan we never lose that sense of the earth.
Libby Seaberg, Sculpture Magazine 2003
…assemblages that are more than the sum of their curiously complementary parts…This intervention both unifies the parts and asserts [Hoffman’s] ability to transform such castoffs.
Helen A. Harrison, The New York Times 2002
...a personal favorite is hard to choose, but this writer’s may be Hoffman’s Wild Book from handmade papers whose cover sprouts a tangle of woody shoots, clutching finger-like at the surrounding space.
Deborah Everett, NY Arts 2000
Hoffman’s collection of manipulated found objects, combines natural and man-made elements in uneasy equilibrium, as if engaged in a struggle for dominance.
Helen A. Harrison, The New York Times 1999
Fashioning strands of seaweed, pine cones, straw, handmade paper, bits of litter, and seedpods into little boats, nests, traps and nameless things, Growing Wild is a cumulative installation composed of countless small parts.
Kim Levin, “Voice Choices,” Village Voice 1997
(Hoffman’s) sculptures created a sense of colorful, highly personal microcosms.
Jennifer Dunning, The New York Times 1997
...a metamorphosis in which ordinary objects from the natural world are combined with everyday man-made objects to become something never seen before...There are suggestions of spindly, jellyfish-like tentacles, seedpods, flower stamens, bladders, birds’ wings and exotic insects. These objects appear caught in mid-movement as they float, fly, dance or wriggle through their unique microcosms.
Christina Kallery, Metrotimes (Detroit, MI) 2003