This is the pivotal exhibition in Marcus Hodge’s established career. It represents a radical departure from representational painting towards work of a more abstract nature. Many of these symbolic paintings were inspired by a further trip to India and time spent in Mumbai. The Gateway of India left an indelible mark and so became the starting point for a series of paintings, as well as a metaphor for the stylistic change taking place. Pictures were complete, not when no more could be added, but rather when no more needed to be removed.
The whole of life plays out in this arena, each and every day adding its small mark to the layers of history and time.
This new direction has allowed for a far more visceral approach giving the materials greater expression, unencumbered by representation. Different tools such as large spatulas, knives and lengths of wood were used to introduce the elements of risk, chance and opportunity. Each painting becomes unique in the artist’s search for the unexpected.
With a more restrained economy of means, the paintings are less about nish as about the process – a process of not knowing, one that may reveal something you weren’t looking for. The picture nds itself in the mysterious and compelling process of being painted.
The Gateway of India has been a silent witness to many important moments of history. It is the backdrop to the unfolding daily events of the many gathered there. As evening approaches and the red sun dips into the Indian Ocean, the surrounding area takes on an almost carnival atmosphere. Musicians and hawkers vie for the attention of the throngs of tourists, as young couples wander under the watchful eye of elderly chaperones.
Marcus Hodge is a British contemporary artist whose work is known for its vitality and sculptural use of paint. This seventh solo exhibition represents a pivotal moment in the artist’s established career and signals his transition from gurative painting towards abstraction. Gateways is a clear metaphor for this transformation, as Hodge seeks to explore the decisive moments in life which affect us all, whether as individuals, families or nations.
In the early stages of his career, Hodge initially made his name as a portrait painter. He returned to the UK in 1996 from a rigorous ve year training in classical oil painting in Spain, very much in the vivid Spanish ‘Alla Prima’ style. Within two years, he exhibited with the Royal Society of Portrait Painters and was selected as one of the UK’s A list portrait painters by Harpers and Queen. He rose to become, “one of the most successful portrait artists of his generation,” (William Packer, Art Critic for the Financial Times.)
Hodge rst travelled to India in 2000. This trip was the start of an intense fascination with India and became the driving inspiration behind his rst solo show of gures and landscapes. Three more solo shows followed over the next decade, with Hodge’s style constantly evolving to become bolder, simpler and more contemporary with each one. By 2011, Hodge’s Scottish landscapes marked a new emphasis where the quality of paint became as equally important as the images created. The paintings were accompanied by impressionist bronze sculptures of horses, as his interest in this three dimensional aspect grew.
Gateways, a new collection of thirty powerful semi-abstract works by Marcus Hodge, opens 7-17 November at Rountree Tryon Galleries, unveiling the artist’s radical departure from a 20-year career in portrait and landscape painting.
It seems tting that the vitality of the Gateway of India in Mumbai should have provided the initial inspiration for this rst show of his semi-abstract work.
MARCUS HODGE GATEWAYS 7 November – 17 November 2017 Rountree Tryon Galleries 7 Bury Street St James’s London SW1Y 6AL