Roadside Mystics is a collaborative project by video artist Ruth Eckland, painter Monroe Hodder, and photographer Fred Hodder.
Hodder and Eckland create contemporary archetypes of women, exploring identity with interplay of paint and light. Hodder’s paintings frame Eckland’s animations to create images that blend, dissolve, and transform. The abstract becomes figurative as the figurative morphs into pattern within an undulating loop amplified by music. The psychedelic and erotic themes are reminiscent of early 1970’s Animerama (アニメラマ), a cutting-edge Japanese feature film trilogy set to jazz piano that explores the female form through swirling pans of panoramic watercolor paintings.
Hodder’s paintings are complex abstractions of motifs and texture. Opposing surfaces reflect human behavior and express the dichotomy of coexistence. Eckland’s videos show women in unusual pursuits as they exert their identity one minute and sink into the folds of Hodder’s canvas the next. If a maze of painted patterns represents the complexities of women’s lives, then projections of moving images illuminate these complexities, providing a searchlight to discover meaning in chaos.
Lightbox images by Fred Hodder combine urban photography with Monroe Hodder’s paintings. Layers of colorful brushstrokes are composited with black and white photographs within light-boxes, infusing familiar cityscapes with surreal elements.
About the Artists
Ruth Eckland has exhibited throughout the USA and internationally, connecting with viewers in countries as diverse as Costa Rica, Kazakhstan, Germany, Singapore, Turkey, The Czech Republic, United Kingdom, Israel, Cyprus, South Korea, and China. Her work seems to communicate a universal language that touches what Eckland recognizes as “a global core.” As Kenneth Baker, art critic for The San Francisco Chronicle, has said in one of his many reviews of Eckland’s work, “Eckland handles video like the medium of collective dreams that we share without knowing it. Apparently she wants us to know it.”
Monroe Hodder has lived and worked in London, Amsterdam, Indonesia, and Kazakhstan, exhibiting her paintings both internationally and in the USA. She received her MFA from the San Francisco Art institute and has since pursued her dedication to painting. Hodder’s work is now in numerous museums, corporate, and private collections. She has been selected as a Visiting Artist at the American Academy in Rome on four occasions and received a Permanent Artists’ Visa from the British government in 2005. Now living in New York, she enjoys working out of her studio at MANA Contemporary in Jersey City and recently completed several solo exhibitions in Chelsea, NYC.
Fred Hodder exhibited his photographic series “New York Now” and regularly shows his work of composited cityscapes and panoramas throughout the New York area. He is represented by Michael Warren Contemporary in Denver, Colorado.
Composer Matt DiFonzo has collaborated with Ruth Eckland for many years, scoring her videos and immersive installations to create atmosphere and subtext for the images.