This week we have Howard Hodgkin in our #SundayPainter feature. The famous abstract painter was well-known for painting small pieces, usually incredibly slowly, but that still maintained emphatic power and resonance.
In exploring the very nature of painting both as cultured language and sheer expression, Hodgkin disregards the classical polarities of abstraction and representation, past and present, canvas and frame. Assertive compressed gestures, sweeping complex textures, a lush palette, and the dynamic interchange of light and dark are all traits of his distinctive signature. With their maximalist gestures and saturated colors, his more intimately scaled paintings appear jewel-like, while larger works are opulent and theatrical. With incorporated frames and painted wooden supports, they operate as both objects and images.
Embracing spontaneity and directness in equal measure to the processes of reflection and capitulation, it may take a year for Hodgkin to prepare to execute a single brushstroke. The seemingly casual, urgent quality of his paintings belies the fact that most of them have been worked on for two or three years. More than ever they convey the relationship between hand, eye, and memory that drives their process, visual structure, and emotional temperature.
Howard Hodgkin was born in London in 1932, where he lives and works. He attended Camberwell School of Art and the Bath Academy of Art, Corsham. Major museum exhibitions include “Paintings 1975–1995,” Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas (opened 1995 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, traveled to the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Kunstverein Düsseldorf, and Hayward Gallery, London in 1996); Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, (2006, traveled to Tate Britain and Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid); “Paintings: 1992–2007,” Yale Center for British Art, New Haven (2007, traveled to the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge); “Time and Place, 2001–2010,” (Museum of Modern Art Oxford (2010, traveled to De Pont Museum of Contemporary Art, Tilburg, The Netherlands, and San Diego Museum of Art, 2010–11); and “Howard Hodgkin,” Fondation Bemberg, Toulouse, France (2013). Gagosian Gallery has hosted numerous exhibitions of Hodgkin’s paintings, the first of which took place in New York in 1998.