Clive Hodgson at Arcade / London, UK

Clive Hodgson

16 November 2017 – 03 March 2018

87 Lever Street
London EC1V 3RA


 All images courtesy of Arcade, London

over the surfaces of Clive Hodgson’s paintings are 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.
They are not quite like an artists signature but integral parts of
the paintings themselves – painted above and below, behind or in
front or as negative shapes. In some of the 2017 paintings they are
so formally integrated that you don’t even spot them at first.
Whilst some of the shapes – lures and hooks to our imaginations –
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. But what of the
marks that name and date? 
name points to its painter, who never wholly changes (there are no
pseudonyms or  multiple personae) although he does vary between
capitals and lower case, and sometimes allows his first initial to
drift away from his surname and very occasionally omits it
altogether. ‘C. Hodgson’ does not reveal gender, and can be found
written sideways, backwards or upside down. In some paintings I
misread it as one word, the slightly comic and bulky ‘Chodgson’. The name looks like one on a school exercise book intended for some
particular topic or for recording information, except here the
purpose has been resisted and it’s filled instead with a different
kind of writing. As the letters of the name suggest a reading of the
other shapes and marks as a quasi-writing, the denotative quality of
the writing itself is dissolved in equal and opposite reaction.
the surface, the painted dates perform an explicit chronological
grouping function. In January the 2017 paintings will be replaced by
ones from 2008 as a marker and celebration of Arcade’s tenth
anniversary. We will step across that arbitrary line when one year
changes to another, fall back ten years, and yet still be in the
present. The system of numbering years homogenises and cuts time, and
although date-as-number is emphatically present on every painting,
that function doesn’t seem to truly fit. The equivocality of the
numbers as shapes as well as symbols makes them just one of many
things-from-the-world that are mediated and put into play on the
surface of the canvas, pointing not to a system of possible meanings
but presenting a lived movement in time.

Barham, November 2017)