press release

Gagosian Gallery Davies Street, London

The only way an artist can communicate with the world at large is on the level of feeling. I think the function of the artist is to practice his art to such a level that like the soul leaving the body, it comes out into the world and affects other people. --Howard Hodgkin

Gagosian Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of seven new small-scale paintings by Howard Hodgkin.

Like Japanese haikus, these jewel-like paintings surprise with maximalist gestures compressed into very small formats, and daring, voluptuous colors expressed in the complex layers and textures that emanate from the brush. One senses, rather than fully apprehending, the presence of the subject – whether hermetic, allusive, fragmentary -- that resides in the heart of each. Hodgkin is an artist who embraces spontaneity and directness in equal measure to the processes of reflection, capitulation, and disguise. Sometimes he will labour intensively over what looks like a single brush mark produced in an instant. With their incorporated frames and painted wooden supports, his pictures behave as both objects and images.

In this group of very recent works, Hodgkin depicts vibrant traces of human experience inspired by his memories and encounters in subjects such as Rain on the Pane, Green Thoughts and Sky. Using bold gestures that seem to push beyond the confines of the diminutive format that he has chosen, each work is at once a completely autonomous composition and a suggestive synecdoche of the greater aesthetic reality that lies beyond its limits. With In the Train, he goes one step further, leaving bare sections of the wooden panel as a reminder of the physicality of both his process and the fleeting sensorial images that it captures so convincingly.

Howard Hodgkin was born in London in 1932 and attended Camberwell School of Art and the Bath Academy of Art, Corsham. In 1984, he represented Britain at the Venice Biennale and in the following year won the Turner Prize. He has exhibited internationally for over four decades and his work is included in major public and private collections all over the world. Major museum surveys include Paintings 1975-1995, organized by the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, that opened at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and toured to Fort Worth, Düsseldorf, and London; a major retrospective at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (2006) traveling to Tate Britain (in a considerably expanded version) and Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid; and a survey of paintings from 1992-2007 at the Yale Center for British Art, New Haven (2007), and traveled to the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.