Since 2006, Hodgson’s followers have become accustomed to expect the surfaces of his paintings to be spread with different coloured oblongs, circles, brush strokes, lines, and other effects that might be stencilled, drawn, scratched, removed, sprayed, splattered, washed, layered. Amongst these forms two others: ‘C.Hodgson’ and the year of production are constant presences. Whilst some of the shapes might variously spark associations of targets, punctuation, decorative motifs, snow or eyelashes, the paintings seem to resist those references, or even the very idea of reference.
In this series of previously un-exhibited works, started in 2006 and ongoing, an intimate portrait of a more private domain is exposed. This might seem at odds with his more familiar ‘abstract’ works, but both are strongly grounded in Hodgson’s curiosity about Painting and what it can explore. The genre of still-life is used here as a lens through which other and different qualities of painting can be viewed, exposed and evaluated. It is in a way a sort of diary of attempts or encounters within a limited field. Coffee time cups, studio debris, books, crumpled paper, and tools, etc, reconfigure in changing arrangements as if they are restless.
Edouard Manet once called Still-Life (or Nature Morte, as it was to him) “the touchstone of painting”. He clearly recognized the genre as an important arena for the exploration of the art of painting, though historically it was considered as a more menial genre. Of course, we know it to depict mostly inanimate subject matter, typically commonplace objects which are either natural (food, flowers, dead animals, plants, rocks, shells, etc.) or man-made (drinking glasses, books, vases, jewellery, coins, pipes, etc.) but surely these often banal, and dead or inanimate objects are signs of ‘living’, and of our experiences. In French the emphasis is on death – in Nature Morte, whereas the English refers somewhat obliquely but maybe rightly, to Still-life, as if somehow there is ‘life’ in there, somehow, albeit still.