Howard Hodgkin (London, 1932), is one of the most active British artists on the international scene. Hodgkin describes his work as "paintings depicting emotional situations", where he tries to recreate the intensity of the experience. The artist works with his memory, revealing and concealing issues through overlapping layers of bright colours and distinctive markings, a process that can take several years.
Hodgkin has followed a personal path, different from his generational peers linked to Pop Art. In his early paintings he portrays his artist friends in unconventional ways in order to capture their feelings, or reflect spaces where social meetings occur through fragmented forms and artistic symbols. During the late sixties he experiments with different formats and media, like his trademark painted frame, which includes the subject and draws attention to the pieces as objects. Hodgkin distances himself from obvious figurative references. His themes open themselves to nature and places related to his travels. In 1964 he made his first trip to India where he was impressed by the bold colours he saw there.
His work in the late seventies reaches new levels of emotional intensity with more intimate issues and use of colour to express pure transitory moments, with references to moments of anger, jealousy or erotic situations. His paintings present reality through glimpses, they reveal as much as they hide. In 1984, Hodgkin represented Britain at the Venice Biennale with a series of small paintings that capture the changing light of this city with extraordinary accuracy. At this stage he continues experimenting with scale and is able to make large pieces seems small and intimate, epic works. In the Nineties he displays a more expressive and gestural style with more complex issues and looser brushwork. In recent works, Hodgkin expands and builds his artistic vocabulary, while continuing to search for new forms of expression.
This first retrospective of the artist in Spain traces his evolution over six decades, from portraits and interiors from the early fifties and sixties, to his works on wood and painted frames from the Seventies, and his more gestural paintings from the Eighties onwards. Hodgkin has acknowledged his admiration for Edgar Degas, Camille Corot and especially Henri Matisse, to whom he pays homage in his works. The artist frequently uses literary sources and his work has attracted the attention of novelists and poets, which have given rise to various collaborations.
IMMA, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (February 22 - May 7, 2006 ); Tate Gallery, London (June 14 - September 10, 2006)