January 13, 2021 – January 26, 2021
Howard Hodgkin: Blue Evening
Cristea Roberts Gallery
The prints selected below, from a collection entitled After All, refer to the artist’s memories and personal experiences. Declaring his art to be “representational pictures of emotional situations,” Hodgkin deliberately avoided the illustrative, and remained resistant to interpretation. However, his gestural marks, vibrant colours and evocative titles, invite interpretation from our own personal encounters. Prints such as Blue Evening, A Glass of Red, and Fresh Fruit Crumble are characterised by their synaesthetic qualities; a colour that evokes a touch, a brush-mark that conjures up a taste or an aroma. Broadcaster and writer Andrew Marr describes the artist’s use of colour, “Hodgkin uses colour in ways that may be at times highly personal and biographical but are more often in a long tradition, fully alive today. His colours, of course, are famously layered and translucent; they are going on a perpetual journey. From the frames, towards a distant centre, the eye is led again and again.”
Though Hodgkin’s works often appear spontaneous, they are the result of an extensive process of layering and over-painting. These prints were made with an intaglio base of carborundum and aquatint accentuated with hand-painted touches. Hodgkin was introduced to carborundum, which allowed him to increase the emotional intensity of his printed work by adding texture and depth, by printer Jack Shirreff at 107 Workshop in Wiltshire in 1986.
Carborundum, the common name for silicon carbide, can be ground into a coarse or fine powder and mixed with a PVA glue to create a malleable paste which is then painted onto a printing plate, directly with a brush. It is a simple and direct method which Hodgkin described as “marvellously liberating”. The resulting printed areas are heavily textured and retain the painterly nature of the original application. Upon Shirreff’s retirement Hodgkin began working with printer Andrew Smith, who had trained under Shirreff. Andrew Smith worked with the artist on his final two bodies of printed work, including the etchings below.
Hodgkin’s final prints were made by an artist at the height of his powers. They have a freshness, an economy and a directness which are the result of a lifetime of observation, passion and sheer hard work.
If you would like further information about these works, or any other prints by Hodgkin, please contact us directly via [email protected]