‘Howard Hodgkin: Absent Friends’
“It always feels wrong to scatter words around Howard Hodgkin’s paintings,” writes Jenny Uglow in the NYR Daily. “Their tactile richness should just burn into eyes and minds, leaving a trace behind the eyelids, a memory to which we can return. Their energy is enormous, their beauty intense. Yet ‘words’ are eerily present in these paintings: conversations, jokes, arguments, and endearments. In a way, Hodgkin is a narrative artist and it’s not surprising that he numbered writers among his close friends: Bruce Chatwin, Colm Tóibín, James Fenton, Julian Barnes. All these have written eloquently about him. But he didn’t, himself, like talking about his art, and hapless interviewers often met heavy silences, monosyllabic replies, or airy dismissals. And now he is gone, and there is no one to ask, just the paintings to speak for themselves. And speak they do. Their voices collide, tumble, whisper, sing, shout.”
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