ALAN SOFFER BIOGRAPHY
Alan Soffer has been making art since 1973 in a variety of modalities. Originally, he was known for ceramic sculpture, particularly, religious ritual objects and later for work about ancient healing and the deconstruction and fragmentation of images. His work as teacher and curator continues to augment his primary passion for abstract expressionist painting which began in 1995.
His studies in sculpture and painting include Arrowment School in Tenn., 1981 with Lew Snyder; State U of New York, Oswego with Richard Zakin; Parsons School of Design with Andrea Gill, 1983; Bennington College with Sandy Stone; Corcoran Museum School of Art with Paul Soldner, Peters Valley Art Center 1986 with Bennett Bean; Penna. Academy of Fine Arts, 1988, 1996, 1999; Ringling School of Design. His direction in the abstract arena has been materially nurtured with Professor Moe Brooker.
The work is clearly influenced by abstract expressionists of the past century. Most importantly, one sees some Rauschenberg, Rivers, Frankenthauler, Motherwell, Chagall, Dubuffet, Keifer and Polke to name a few. The body of work that defined Soffer in the early nineties was about ancient medicine and dentistry. This was a natural by product of his practicing dentistry for over thirty years, while making art during much of that time as well. The current emphasis on encaustics is a perfect marriage of his two loves- sculpture and painting.
The other major direction of his work in the nineties was ‘the life cycle’, which was inspired through the teachings of Joseph Campbell, who has remained Soffer’s strongest influence. This work includes extensive treatment of creation theories, life and deconstruction, and finally rebirth. These subjects required research into science, primitive cultures and the ancient world, before, digesting and expressing the most salient features visually.
Soffer’s exhibitions have traveled to Argentina, Cuba, Kurdistan, and throughout the US. Important exhibitions have been at Widener University, Delaware Center for Contemporary Art, National Museum of American Jewish History, Hoyt Institute, Atlantic City Art Center, Sande Webster Gallery, York College, Penn State College, Penna. Academy of Fine Arts, the Print Center, Parallels Gallery, State Museum of Penna., Rosenfeld Gallery, and Robert Roman Gallery to name a few.
His use of encaustics began in 1998 and continues to be an integral feature of his oeuvre. Reduction and distillation both buries and exposes bits of images and sentiments infused in the multilayered paintings. The ancient technique of hot pigmented wax, which he has helped to revitalize, remains a unique vocabulary for expressing space through its inherent translucency. And space, from the microscopic to the galactic, is a frequent theme.
VICTORIA DONOHUE- PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER [2003, Widener University]
“Soffer is serious artist with a truly poetic gift for making his paintings coalesce into visions of quite remarkable beauty. He is a colorist and very versatile in this; he uses color exuberantly and paints seemingly with abandon, yet his results are nonetheless strongly rhythmic. Such paintings project an engaging physicality, even though they rely on swift effects to declare their presence as the shapes move back and forth between realistic portrayals of the human figure and abstraction- with the accent on abstraction.
R.B. STRAUSS- METRO PAPER [2002 Parallels Gallery]
“Layers of color lend his art a sense of depth while the choreography of his brushwork yields a dynamic flow from one painting to the next. This sense of traveling into uncharted territory is what makes his work so unique.
ANNE FABBRI- STYLE MAGAZINE [LBI Foundation]
“Highlights of the show created by the Puffin Foundation (Toxic Landscapes) include three haunting Soffer paintings that depict environments within the lifecycle. He finishes the surface with pencil, paint photographs in these mixed media drawings and collages.
JANET PURCELL- THE TIMES [Canvassing the Coast]
“Soffer reaches down into his memories, in the manner of abstract expressionism. Symbolistic strokes fly around on the surface and drama is in every stroke.