PRINT January 1996

“Howard Hodgkin: Paintings 1975–1995”

BECAUSE MANY OF Howard Hodgkin’s paintings look like abstract arrangements of brilliantly colored bars, arcs, waves, and dots, it may come as some surprise to learn that he intends them as renderings of people, situations, scenes, or events—and further, that each painting represents the artist’s effort to convey a state of emotion associated with a particular moment. In his own words, Hodgkin paints “representational pictures of emotional situations.”1 It would be wrong, though, to conclude that he is concerned with a generalized thematics of emotion. Instead, Hodgkin tells us that his paintings focus on the memory of specific observations and experiences, and do so over an extended period of time, being finished when “the subject comes back . . . [and] when the painting is at long last a coherent physical object.”2 In this formulation, his images answer to lived time and to the transient

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