Do you remember Coleridge’s poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner from school?
With its storms, spirits, and lurking danger it conjures up the sea and in the process, gives the reader goose bumps:
Water, water everywhere,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, everywhere
Nor any drop to drink.
It’s time to revisit that frightening, fascinating ocean. But now it is Claus Hoie who leads us on the voyage, bringing to life the sea, its creatures and ships as we go. With clear, clean lines Hoie lets us taste the salty winds and feel the chilly depths.
The newly opened exhibition “Natural and Imaginary Worlds” at Trygve Lie Gallery spans forty years of Hoie’s work, and features not only sea life, but an array of giant insects, still lifes and landscapes – all done in marvelous watercolor.
Born in Stavanger, Hoie emigrated to the United States at age twelve, served in the Merchant Marine as an “able-bodied seaman” in his younger years, and went on to receive formal art training at the Ecole Beaux Arts in Paris and the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn.
“We’re happy to have Claus Hoie here,” said Gallery Director Eirik Fluge. “This exhibition has come together beautifully thanks to curator Phyllis Braff and the Norwegian Immigration Association.”
Hoie said he felt honored to be invited to the Gallery and that in a way he’d come full circle.
“As a 17-year old I was new to this country, I worked on a ship so I feel particularly close to the Norwegian Seamen’s Churches. And I am happy to have you all come here tonight to see what I spend my time with these days.”
Hoie said he has painted since childhood.
“I guess I have always painted. I came out of school in the middle of the depression and there wasn’t much to do.”
During WW2 Hoie was a member of the elite Norwegian American battalion in the US Army, which trained as Mountain Ski Infantry in the event a proposed invasion to liberate Norway transpired. The battalion then served in the European campaigns from the Normandy beaches through the continent to Germany and then finally to Norway at the end of the war.
It is the sea that permeates Hoie’s works the most, along with the literature around it (Moby Dick features in some paintings), just as it has imbued his entire life.
“I have always felt close to the sea. I live near the ocean and feel at home on the ocean. As for my painting, well I think I let simplicity speak for itself!”
A book with Hoie’s beautiful watercolors can be bought at Trygve Lie Gallery
“Natural and Imaginary Worlds” runs through September 9..
For more info, see www.trygveliegallery.com
Stavanger-born artist Claus Hoie showed his affinity with watercolors. Here he is flanked by, to the left, curator Phyllis Braff and to the right, Vibeke Steineger, Norwegian Immigration Association’s chairman of the board. “We’re happy to have members like Hoie who can share beautiful things like these,” Steineger said.
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