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English painter, printmaker and collector. Studied at Camberwell School of Art and at Bath Academy of Art, Corsham. Did not seriously exhibit until he was 30. His preference was for emotionally charged figurative groupings in which the figures appeared embedded in the matrix of the picture, as if growing out of their surroundings, such as in Interior of a Museum. The often manic humor helped place Hodgkin in the climate of Pop art, although he was not directly associated with the movement; early subjects included Joe Tilson in The Tilsons, whose goggle eyes stare out from his own gaudy carpentered constructions.
Hodgkin was always concerned to make the picture an object, and from 1970 he worked not on canvas but on assertive wooden supports, such as drawing boards or door frames. Hodgkin's paintings are generally small in scale, consciously conceived within the tradition of European easel painting. They refer to memories of specific moments, but as Hodgkin insisted, ‘the most complete expression of such a subject would not necessarily involve description'. He painted extremely slowly, sometimes taking up to 4 years or more on one work. During this process the clarity of the original imagery was often obscured, and the spectator was invited to decipher the finished image as a kind of riddle. A white line representing a table divides the composition of Dinner at West Hill, the egg-like heads of the guests rising on the right and, from the red areas opposite, establishing the spectator's presence. The sense is of the social event having generated another level, evident in the painted flecks which dance like thoughts above the heads of the guests. Hodgkin's repeated dots or blobs stand for the vibrations of feeling, almost as metaphysical substance.
Another painter I would classify as a colorist produces lively abstracts. He has been called Howard Splodgkin, but come to think of it that may have been by me.... http://poulwebb.blogspot.nl/2010/09/howard-hodgkin.html