Yale Bulletin and Calendar

January 26, 2007|Volume 35, Number 15















The works on view in the exhibit of recent art by Howard Hodgkin include small, intimate pieces and large paintings, such as "Performance Art," pictured at left.

Exhibit features recent work by
British painter Howard Hodgkin

Recent works by Howard Hodgkin -- considered one of the most important artists working in Britain today -- are the focus of a new exhibition opening on Thursday, Feb. 1, at the Yale Center for British Art.

Layering paint on his surfaces and frames, sometimes over the course of years, Hodgkin is known for creating and re-creating intense experiences for his viewers. He has described his semi-abstract works, often painted in bold colors, as "representational pictures of emotional situations." He is also a printmaker.

The Yale Center for British Art will be the only U.S. venue to present an exhibition of works by Hodgkin from the last 15 years. "Howard Hodgkin: Paintings 1992-2007" will feature nearly 50 works from private collections and museums in the United States and Great Britain. The works on view in the exhibition range from small, intimate paintings, such as "Old Sky" and "Theatre," to large, sometimes imposing works such as "Performance Art," "Memorial" and "An Italian Landscape."

In its description of the exhibit, the Yale Center for British Art says, "A focused intellectual and physical process goes into making each work, as each painting is built up from a series of interlocking elements: the event or situation that inspires the artist; the evolution of that inspiration as the painting is created; and the impact of the finished object on those who experience it."

Hodgkin, who has often been compared to Henri Matisse, makes reference in his titles to past artists and artistic conventions, as in "After Degas," "After Samuel Palmer" and "Ultramarine," a painting in cobalt which refers to Malcolm Lowry's first published novel. However, Hodgkin has noted that these associations are, at most, allusive, and are, in fact, sometimes decidedly deceptive and even playful.

The curators say that, while Hodgkin is legendary for his ability to confound discussion of his work -- and his paintings are likewise considered difficult to describe in terms of subject matter or meaning -- these characteristics are precisely what engages artist, object and audience.

Born in 1932, Hodgkin lived in Long Island, New York, from 1940 to 1943, having been evacuated from London during World War II. It was in these formative years that he resolved to become an artist. He later attended the Camberwell School of Art and the Bath Academy of Art in Corsham, England. In 1984 he represented Britain at the Venice Biennale and, the following year, won the Turner Prize, the most prestigious award granted to a living artist by a British art museum (Tate).

Throughout his career, Hodgkin's work has been exhibited extensively by U.S. museums. The Yale Center for British Art and the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., showed a selection of his work in 1985. A decade later, the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth organized a major retrospective, which opened at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

"Howard Hodgkin: Paintings 1992-2007" was co-curated by Julia Marciari Alexander, associate director for exhibitions and publications at the Yale Center for British Art, and David Scrase, assistant director of collections and keeper of the Department of Paintings, Drawings and Prints at the Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge, where the exhibition will travel in May. The exhibition is supported by the British Council. A fully illustrated publication will accompany the exhibition and includes color reproductions of works at both Yale and the Fitzwilliam Museum.

A number of special events are being offered in conjunction with the exhibition. These include an opening lecture on Wednesday, Jan. 31, by Robert Storr, dean of the Yale School of Art and professor of painting. Titled "Painting (v.) as Image/Painting (n.) as Object: The Work of Howard Hodgkin," the lecture will begin at 5:30 p.m. at the center.

On Sunday, Feb. 4, at 2 p.m. the 1948 film "The Fallen Idol," directed by Carol Reed, will be shown as an "Artist's Choice." Winner of the BAFTA film award for best British film, "The Fallen Idol" is the story of an ambassador's son struggling with adulthood and his suspicions that his best friend may have murdered his wife.

Collectors Susan and Fredric Finkelstein will present an "Art in Context" talk titled "Living with the Art of Howard Hodgkin" on Tuesday, Feb. 6, at 12:30 p.m.

For other upcoming events in conjunction with the exhibition, check the calendar section of this newspaper.

The Yale Center for British Art, 1080 Chapel St., is open free to the public Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and Sunday, noon-5 p.m. It is closed Mondays and major holidays. For further information about the center, visit www.yale.edu/ycba or call (203) 432-2800 or (877) BRIT ART (toll free in the United States).


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