Combining the versatility of recycled products with the freedom of an empty gallery space, Buffalo-based artist Ani Hoover brought her work to the College Union Kinetic Gallery on Wednesday Nov. 13. To the cursory viewer, it might be difficult to notice that Hoover created her work of sculpted flowers “Rubber Garden” from old bicycle tires. Additionally, spectators may not imagine that the whimsical, sequin-like drapery “Milk & Sugar” adorning the front right wall consists of plastic bottles and straight pins. Acknowledging the exhibition’s title “Re-Works,” however, confirms the art’s humble beginnings.
Originally from Missouri, Hoover moved to Buffalo with a strong background in painting. From there, she showcased her art all around the East Coast, including at the Flanders Art Gallery in Raleigh, N.C. in 2008.
A few years ago, Hoover started mainly exhibiting her art around the Buffalo area. She showed her paintings at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in 2008, University of Buffalo’s Center for the Arts in 2009 and the Starlight Studios and Gallery from 2010 to 2011.
Recently, however, Hoover has deviated from painting and begun an artistic rebellion of her own. She switched from working with paint to primarily experimenting with recycled products.
“I was kind of revolting,” Hoover said. “I didn’t want to buy more paint or paper.”
Hoover began by reusing her old paintings as collage materials.
“I didn’t think that cutting all my paintings was such a good idea,” she said. She gravitated toward using some of the recycled products shown in “Re-Works,” including recycled plastic and tires.
Stories lay behind many of her pieces. One of Hoover’s works “Stick, Stack” shows multicolored, large wooden sticks leaning on a wall and forming a right triangle with the floor. Hoover said she took the sticks from a home improvement job. They weren’t being used, so she made use of them.
Depending on location, Hoover assembles her art in a wide range of configurations. She said she enjoys “the flexibility of a gallery space,” and employs it to help her determine placement of her pieces in a room. Also, “Astro Dot Net,” made from zip ties and circular dye cuts of old paintings on Yupo synthetic paper, hangs from a wall and takes any shape Hoover sees fit to design.
Whether it’s through finding materials, recycling old paintings or arranging her pieces in galleries, Hoover takes an active role in her art. As it says on her website, she keeps “collecting, arranging, assembling … then doing it all over again.”