Gagosian Gallery (Paris)

Paris, France
13th June - 9th August 2014

From Gagosian Gallery press release:

”I am a representational painter, but not a painter of appearances. I paint representational pictures of emotional situations.” —Howard Hodgkin

Gagosian is pleased to present an exhibition of recent paintings by Howard Hodgkin. This will be Hodgkin’s first solo exhibition in Paris, following recent critically acclaimed exhibitions at Gagosian Rome (2013) and Gagosian New York (2011).

Exploring the very nature of painting as both cultivated language and sheer expression, Hodgkin disregards the classical polarities of past and present, abstraction and representation, surface and frame. Assertive, compressed gestures, a lush palette, and the dynamic interchange of light and dark are all traits of his distinctive style. Hodgkin incorporates the frame as part of the painted surface, conveying unadulterated and deliberate expressions that maintain a strong sense of objecthood. With their maximalist brushstrokes and saturated colors, intimately scaled paintings appear jewel-like, while larger works are opulent and theatrical.

Embracing spontaneity and directness in equal measure to processes of reflection and capitulation, Hodgkin may take one year to prepare to execute his first brushstroke; the seemingly informal, urgent quality of his paintings belies the fact that most have been painted, reconsidered, and re-painted. The works convey the relationship between hand, eye, and memory that drives their process, visual structure, and emotional temperature.

In each painting, Hodgkin’s subject is a presence that is sensed rather than apprehended, and remains allusive and fragmentary. New works produced between London, Normandy, and Bombay represent vibrant traces of location and experience—transcriptions of everyday encounters and memories into layered, richly colored textures. While Ganges (2005–13) evokes the rapid motion of the great river, it also resonates with the mythological implications of its central place in Indian culture as the vehicle of life, and a source of comfort in death. Indian Waves (2013–14) features overlapping brushstrokes, while bare spaces emphasize the work’s physical reality as oil paint on a wooden panel. The panel and frame of Out of the Window, Bombay (2012–14) are overwhelmed by fluorescent spots like colored petals; Autumn in Bombay (2010–14) is represented in pervasive marks of red, orange, yellow, and black. Enriching initial impressions through a gradual process of intimate reflection, Hodgkin creates paintings which are both composed, autonomous wholes and synecdoches of a greater aesthetic reality beyond the frame.

The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue including texts by Julian Barnes, James Fenton, and Susan Sontag, and a discussion of Hodgkin’s work between Jean-Pierre Criqui and Jeff Wall.