Monday, 2 August 2010

I gasped when I saw this painting by Howard Hodgkin yesterday. It is called Home, Home on the Range and it is such an explosion of colour - this picture doesn't do it justice - that you feel you could walk right in, hunker down by the campfire, feel the heat throbbing off the prairie.
But I found myself maybe even more engrossed in Damp Autumn, a brownish monochrome that took seven years to paint. Think ... the essence of late November, 'worlds of wanwood leafmeal', organic odour of dark brown humus and damp beechmast underfoot. If you get the chance to see this exhibition, do leave time to see the film interviews with Hodgkin that set me wondering about vision and memory and how an artist sees and whether he is born with that gift of seeing and remembering or works to attain it. Afterwards, I wandered up to the Ashmolean to see Indian miniatures from Hodgkin's own collection. And revisit Sickert ... odours of landlady's cooking, stale beer, tobacco-browned wallpaper and the tannin smell of old tea-cosies?

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