Howard Hodgkin, Dark Night, 2011
Oil on wood
21 x 26 inches
November 3 – December 23, 2011
I don’t think you can lightly paint a picture. It’s an activity I take very seriously.
Gagosian Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of recent paintings by Howard Hodgkin.
In Hodgkin’s paintings, abstraction and figuration are held in perfect tension. Assertive compressed gestures, sweeping complex textures, a lush palette, and the dynamic interchange of light and dark are all hallmarks of his distinctive signature. Embracing spontaneity and directness in equal measure to the processes of reflection and capitulation, it may take a year of preparation to execute a single and instantaneous brushstroke. Containing maximalist gestures and saturated colors expressed in the effects of the brush, the more intimately scaled paintings appear jewel-like, while larger works are sumptuous and theatrical. With their incorporated frames and painted wooden supports, they operate as both objects and images.
In each painting, Hodgkin’s subject is a presence that is sensed rather than apprehended, remaining resistant to interpretation, allusive, and fragmentary. Vibrant traces of experience inspired by everyday memories, places, and encounters are called by name in titles such as Breakfast (2010-11), In Egypt (2007-08), Opera (2003-11) and Knightsbridge (2009-11). By intimating the world beyond the confines of the frame, he creates works that are at once composed and autonomous wholes and synecdoches of the greater aesthetic reality that lies beyond their limits.
Howard Hodgkin was born in London in 1932 and attended Camberwell School of Art and the Bath Academy of Art, Corsham. His work is included in major public and private collections all over the world. Major museum exhibitions include “Paintings 1975-1995,” organized by the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas (1995, opened at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, traveled the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Kunstverein of the Rhineland and Westphalia, Düsseldorf, and the Tate Modern, London in 1996); a major retrospective at the 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). Most recently, “Time and Place, 2001-2010,” opened at Modern Art Oxford in 2010, and traveled to De Pont Museum of Contemporary Art, Tilburg, The Netherlands, and to San Diego Museum of Art in 2010-11.