previews

  • Howard Hodgkin, Home, Home on the Range, 2001–2007, oil on wood, 80 1/4 x 105 1/8".

    Howard Hodgkin

    Modern Art Oxford
    30 Pembroke Street
    June 23–September 5

    Curated by Michael Stanley

    Many postwar painters have yielded to the siren song of the big brushstroke, their efforts all too often settling into cliché or parody. The twenty paintings in this exhibition, however, just might prove that gestural abstraction can thrill us yet—without irony or apology—at least if it’s by Howard Hodgkin. In these works (all made in the past ten years, many never before publicly shown), oil paint gets to slither, voluptuously, over raw wood. Expect plays with scale to delight the mind, daring color to seduce the eyes. In Sky, 2005–2009, a broad wash of light cerulean floats beneath a vigorous smear of cobalt, turning an eighteen-inch oval frame into something worthy of a Baroque ceiling. Leaf, 2007–2009, offers but a single luscious fold of green. Such bold applications of paint look great in reproduction, but they deserve the direct viewing that this exhibition will provide.