The Vivid Reminiscence of Ukiyo-e in the Work of Hope Gangloff
09 februari 2022 
31 min. read

The Vivid Reminiscence of Ukiyo-e in the Work of Hope Gangloff

Hope Gangloff (b. 1974) is an American painter residing in Brooklyn, NY. Her colorful portraits involving vivid patterns seem to trace back to Van Gogh's paintings and Ukiyo-e engravings. 

 chie fueki Hope Gangloff

Fig. 1. Chie Fueki, 2013 (hope-gangloff.com)

Embedded in a Color-field With the Paint

Gangloff was born in Amityville, New York, in a family of farmers. Being in high school, she started creating large-scale paintings with the attic of an old barn as her studio. Gangloff continued her education at Cooper Union, persisting in drawing her works. As she says, the large scale allowed her to have her own space, to feel that she was embedded "in [a] color-field with the paint" (wikipedia.org). At that time, she used house paint on butcher paper. After graduation in 1997, Gangloff worked as a dishwasher and then moved to Montana to live with her older brother. She worked as a bronze foundry in Bozeman and as a metal chaser in Brooklyn when she moved back to New York City. Later, she began to receive commissions as a painter and was employed by the Built by Wendy accessory line to draw scenes from movies. Today, Hope Gangloff is a successful artist who's had many international exhibitions. The works of the artist are represented in Susan Inglett Gallery. 

 Looking West over Lake George from Hulett's Landing hope gangloff.

Fig. 2. Looking West over Lake George from Hulett's Landing (hope-gangloff.com)

 Hope Gangloff Birch Stand South of Cheney Cabin

Fig. 3. Birch Stand South of Cheney Cabin, 2019 (hope-gangloff.com)

 A Whole Day in the Apple Orchard Hope Gangloff

Fig. 4. A Whole Day in the Apple Orchard, 2021 (hope-gangloff.com)

 hope gangloff Rainy Day in Echo Park

Fig. 5. Rainy Day in Echo Park, 2019 (hope-gangloff.com)

 hope gangloff Borrowed Orchids

Fig. 6. Borrowed Orchids (hope-gangloff.com)

A Problem to Solve

Gangloff works for many hours on each painting. As she admits, "Anyone who has sat for me knows that the first four hours painting will probably be erased completely. It's less stressful when my model already knows that." To explain this feature of her work, she likens the creative process to rock climbing: "An outsider who doesn't look at a lot of art might not understand why I paint similar things over and over again… But there are always micro-movements. I'm always working through problems. Rock climbers look for little changes in rocks to help them climb and keep going. When I look at a painting, I'm also looking for the move that's going to set off something else. The whole painting is like a problem I'm trying to solve" (Wikipedia.org). 

 Catherine Despont Hope Gangloff

Fig. 7. Catherine Despont, 2012 (hope-gangloff.com)

 Hope Gangloff Afternoon Shower

Fig. 8. Afternoon Shower, 2012 (hope-gangloff.com)

 Hope Gangloff Lake Minnewaska in June

Fig. 9. Lake Minnewaska in June, 2013 (hope-gangloff.com)

 Kristen Schiele, Hope Gangloff

Fig. 10. Kristen Schiele, 2015 (hope-gangloff.com) 

Styles and Subjects

Working in a genre of portrait, Gangloff paints her friends and people she likes, stating that, since school time, it's been her way of communication. The format and the subjects of portraits by Gangloff make them thematically close to hyper-realistic large-scale works by Franz Gertsch, who also depicted his friends, the representatives of the Swiss avant-garde like Luciano Castelli. The dominance of color that was a characteristic feature of impressionists and expressionists unavoidably makes us recall Van Gogh's oeuvres. Curiously, Gangloff seems to make additional references to this artist in her vibrant paintings. The girl in her Kristen Schiele painting (fig. 9) holds a mug with reversed letters that read as "Arles town" (fig. 10). As we know, Arles is a town in France where Van Gogh spent more than a year and created a famous painting devoted to his bedroom (fig. 11). Gangloff's depictions of flowers like Borrowed Orchids or Rainy Day in Echo Park (2019) one can associate with Van Gogh's depictions of almond branches. 

 Van Gogh, Bedroom in Arles

Fig. 11. Van Gogh, Bedroom in Arles, 1888 (Wikipedia.org)

  Van Gogh, The Sower

Fig. 12. Van Gogh, The Sower, 1888 (Wikipedia.org)

 Van Gogh, Prisoner’s Round

Fig. 13. Van Gogh, Prisoner’s Round, 1890 (Wikipedia.org)

 Van Gogh, Almond Blossom

Fig. 14. Van Gogh, Almond Blossom (Wikipedia.org)

Ukiyo-e Features

Another apparent source of inspiration for Gangloff is ukiyo-e engravings. The space in her portraits consists of pieces of different vivid patterns, just as in Japanese designs. The spots and dots of bright colors create an illusion of motion, so the world in the picture seems to be floating, which leads us both to the Japanese philosophy of the floating world and the impressionist striving for the depiction of shifting light. Attention to the fabric is common to ukiyo-e prints and Gangloff's pictures. When we look at her portraits, there often will be a piece of clothing with chiseled ornamentation. Parts bursting with colors form a curious mosaic or a puzzle that Gangloff tries to solve. 

 Moolog, Dad, and Kiev Hope Gangloff

Fig. 15. Moolog, Dad, and Kiev, 2015 (hope-gangloff.com)

 Snowy Day Hope Gangloff

Fig. 16. Snowy Day, 2012 (hope-gangloff.com)

 Queen Jane Hope Gangloff

Fig. 17. Queen Jane, 2011 (hope-gangloff.com). Look at the Japanese background! 

 Sara Van Der Beek in Her Bath Closet Hope Gangloff

Fig. 18. Sara Van Der Beek in Her Bath Closet, 2010 (hope-gangloff.com)

 Gangloff

Fig. 19. Tiffany Pentz with News, 2016 (hope-gangloff.com)

 Hope Gangloff Minnewaska Lodge (Blaze Lamper),

Fig. 20. Minnewaska Lodge (Blaze Lamper), 2011 (hope-gangloff.com)

 Trouble with Paradise Hope Gangloff

Fig. 21. Trouble with Paradise, 2009 (hope-gangloff.com)

 Pen drawing Hope Gangloff

Fig. 22. Pen drawing (pinterest.com)

 Hope Gangloff Eric’s Studio

Fig. 23. Eric’s Studio, 2009 (hope-gangloff.com)

 Lina in My House Hope Gangloff

Fig. 24. Lina in My House, 2010 (hope-gangloff.com)

 Steam Room Hope Gangloff

Fig. 25. Steam Room, 2010 (hope-gangloff.com)

 Hope Gangloff Lydia (The Tattooed Lady)

Fig. 26. Lydia (The Tattooed Lady), 2013 (hope-gangloff.com)

 Compare lines and use of color. Above: Hope Gangloff, Salome

Fig. 27. Compare lines and use of color. Above: Hope Gangloff, Salome, 2009 (hope-gangloff.com); below: Shunga design by Shigenobu from the series Koi no kakehashi (1787-1832). 

Untitled (Viagra aftermath) Hope Gangloff

Fig. 28. Untitled (Viagra aftermath), soseul.pe.kr

   Get on the Floor, drawing by Hope Gangloff

Fig. 29. Get on the Floor, drawing (hope-gangloff.com)

 Liuba Feeds Her Cats Hope Gangloff

Fig. 30. Liuba Feeds Her Cats, drawing (hope-gangloff.com)

 Gangloff

Fig. 31. Rub My Belly, drawing (hope-gangloff.com) 

 Brick House, drawing Hope Gangloff

Fig. 32. Brick House, drawing (hope-gangloff.com)

 girl with dog Hope Gangloff

Fig. 33. pinterest.com

 Carrie Hope Gangloff

Fig. 34. Carrie, pinterest.com

  Sleeping Hope Gangloff Conditions

Fig. 35. Sleeping Conditions, drawing (hope-gangloff.com)

Sources: Wikipedia.org; hope-gangloff.com

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About the author
Darya is a philologist who lives and works in Saint-Petersburg, Russia. She is specialized in Russian literature.
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