A Dazzling Dance: Gregory Hodge
Gregory Hodge is a visual trickster.
His dazzling compositions, though two-dimensional, seem to dance off the canvas and into the very room with you. The surfaces of his paintings are strewn with countless portals into a new world of texture and tactility – a realm between image and reality, representation and abstraction. Here, your perspective is really only limited by your imagination – your ability to dance along.
Greg’s dynamic painterly expressions may appear fast and free. In reality, they’re painstakingly considered and meticulously planned. It’s a process that begins with a little in-studio collaging. Greg skilfully constructs ephemeral forms from a store of found imagery, abstract gestures on paper, drafting film and a whole lot of masking tape.
These illusionary abstractions are then captured on canvas via a raft of complex technical processes and illusionistic devices. Trompe-l’oeil (optical illusion), exaggerated cast shadows and a deft manipulation of paint create a clever perceptual illusion, leaving delicate traces of process in their wake. The end result is a kaleidoscope of colour, movement and life. Greg’s paintings playfully mimic the fragility and temporality of their source, blurring the very boundaries between the second and third dimension.
Greg’s very first solo show was held at one of Sydney’s top commercial galleries Sullivan+Strumpf back in 2013. It was an immediate sell-out and signaled a hot new talent on the scene. It’s a reputation that’s been firmly solidified over the past 4 years, with regular exhibitions in his Sydney hometown and across the country. Hodge has also been making a name for himself overseas, with a residency in Italy and art fair appearances in Singapore and Jakarta.
His latest body of work, ‘Signs’, is richly informed by artistic performance. It takes a cue from the Italian futurists, who experimented with an abstract form of theatre where light, colour and architectural forms stood in for the performing body on stage. If you look hard enough, you might just see elaborate performing figures in all their finery, appearing and rescinding in a dynamic flurry of brush strokes.
“I began to incorporate new painted surfaces that resemble textiles, carpets, geological forms as well as the crater-like surface of the moon,” says the artist. “These new elements, together with the illusionistic gesture, read as both image and abstraction.”
In the lead up to the show, Hodge’s studio became packed with carpet samples and endless photocopies of rocks, textures and empty architectural space. These were piled high alongside his built collage constructions, which were physically suspended from the ceiling.“I enjoy trying to mimic the textural and material properties of these objects,” says Hodge. “And the painterly problem-solving that comes with it.”
‘Signs’ exhibits at Sullivan+Strumpf gallery in Sydney from November 18 through to December 22, 2017
Credits: Sullivan+Strumpf Gallery, Gregory Hodge