Article: 'Howard Hodgkin and Jeremy Moon exhibitions' by Norbert Lynton
Publication: The Guardian (11/04/1969)
"Howard Hodgkin’s recent paintings are larger than his previous average, and they are on show at the Kasmin Gallery where they show up well. Ther aer also brighter and a shade more relaxed than those he showed in 1967. But the cat-and-mouse game he plays with the world of appearances has stayed much the same.
He works very slowly. The picture called “Mr and Mrs stringer” was painted during 1966-8. Another, “Large Staff Room,” was in his 1967 show, date 1964-7. It has been thoroughly reworked since and must now be datyed 1964-9. Rarely does he start and finish a painting in the same; when it happens outside forces are likely to have been at work, like someone buying the thing and carrying it off.
This way of working is essential to him. He starts from a particular visual subject and gradually transforms it. The manner of this transformation is conditionedby various factors: by the aesthetic demands of the picture itself (composition, colour relationships, and so on), by stylistic influences (Matisse has always been important to him but one guesses at a special impulsefrom the big Matisse show), and of course by his personality. None of these contributes separately and what they offer always seems to pass through a filter of wit and irony.
The resuly is a curious intensity. Hodgkin’s titles restate the oringinal subject: a portrait, often. The pictures hove just on nature’s side of complete abstractness, so we can’t let ourselves off his notional hook by opting for a non-representational reading. We stand there perplexed, but also engaged by their vividness and quite unusual images. Hodgkin’s long involvement with Indian miniatures seems to have taught him how to join a convincing sense of life to abstraction and flatness. And time seems to bring a memorable, memory-like succinctness."
Article: ‘Howard Hodgkin’ by Guy Brett
Publication: The Times (14/06/1967)
“Howard Hodgkin’s is a laboured, disjointed way of painting. Or perhaps it only appears to be because it is a kind of painting which lets a prolonged, gradual process of working-out show in the final image. For Mr. Hodgkin allows the different parts he has added to a painting over a period of years, to knock against each other, asserting themselves. He amasses an apparent jumble of different feelings and thoughts about painting (though never diagrammatically).
Some of Mr. Hodgkin’s new paintings at Tooth’s, 31 Bruton Street, W.1, have more of this peculiar choca-bloc feeling about them than others. But it is by means of this “clumsiness” that Mr. Hodgkin seems to communicate his strongest feeling. When he veers forwards a smoother kind of romantic, anecdotal figurative painting, with a less complicated space, tension disappears. His forms lose their abrasive edge.
In two of the bigger paintings “Dinner at West Hill” and “Acacia Road”, the construction is especially dense. Both pictures are crowded with forms (of different colours and consistencies) associated, as the titles suggest, with some special moment for the artist, which the spectators can only penetrate in a general way. A hard-edge rectangle backs on to a soft biomorphic limb; there are openings and blank patches right on the picture pane and also fields of coloured dabs which suggest landscape. The horizontal yellow bars in “Acacia Road”, as solid as a gate, give the softer atmospheric parts of the painting emphasis by remaining distinct from them. This kind of surprise is Mr. Hodgkin’s particular strength.”
Article: ‘Two Young Figurative Painters’ by Conroy Maddox
Publication: Art Review (14/06/1962)
"These two painters, Howard Hodgkin and Allen Jones, may be attempting to mark a stylistic turning point in figurative painting, on the other hand some might just as easily consider them to be hovering on the verge of abstraction without entirely going over it. Anyway its an interesting combination, for they have enough in common stylistically to make them agreeable companions, while in general direction, sufficiently different to give contrast. Of the two, Hodgkin makes greater use of the figurative, with the images brushed in with a casual mussiness against bright, hard colour shapes which are ‘abstract’ in the sense that they are painted flatly. Whether this treatment is responsible, or the use of a repeat pattern, some of the compositions tend to sag, dissolve, would perhaps be a better word, into a disturbing uncommunicative welter of shapeless forms, still I imagine Hodgkin’s is still in an experimental stage investigating the possibilities of his venture. Yet for all the faults, and the very obvious references to Sharn and Bacon, he is able in the best, to impart to his work a sort of enigmatic significance. One is arrested by the role of these figures that retain their human status, although at great cost to their ‘normalcy’.
What troubles me, I think, in the work of both these painters, is a slight sense of the contrived, of the overly elaborated, and this might easily, I realise, be due to their involvement in the contemporary art drama of transition between the pure abstract and the explicitly figurative. There is a greater abstract quality about Jones, but again one is brought up against influences, in this instance Kandinsky, Hard Edge and even geometric Cubism in the treatment of the figures. The majority of his canvases incorporate highly coloured arrangements of the fixed and invariable elements; the triangle, the small rectangle, the irregular curve, the ‘confetti’ skilfully scattered across the surface to terminate in squared off sections that hold the figurative images.
What is interesting is that these two young painters are developing a point of view, and a method of expressing it that holds promise for the future."