Gagosian London is pleased to present Indian Waves by Howard Hodgkin, some thirty gouaches inspired by India and hand-painted by Hodgkin in England between 1990 and 1991. These strongly evocative impressions of the exotic horizon so beloved by Hodgkin were forgotten for more than twenty years. Brought to light recently, their emotional immediacy and bright vigor are undiminished by time.
Hodgkin made the first of many trips to India in 1964, and a steady stream of paintings—from Coming Up From the Beach (1970–72) to The Sea, Goa (2013)—and works on paper—including Indian Views (1971) and Indian Leaves (1982)—has ensued from the kaleidoscope of experiences the country has offered him over time: personal encounters and visits to specific places, the seasons and times of day, and the more ineffable qualities of mood and emotion provoked by difference.
For the first stage of Indian Waves, Hodgkin employed the carborundum printing technique for the added physicality that it imparts to the surface of the paper ground, in readiness for the next stage of painting by hand. Indian Waves is the only collection of pictures for which he also used handmade Indian khadi paper, which affords further expressive potential with its distinctive and random textures.
Beginning with the same foundation—a voluptuous blue wavy line that fills the lower half of each sheet with an arc of green above—Hodgkin himself worked concentratedly, painting over each one in successive bursts of intense focus using a vibrant palette of cadmium red and yellow, rose, orange, black, white, and Veronese green. Each of the resulting works has its own simple descriptive title linked to sensation, place, or event—Mumbai Wedding, Border, Chowpatty Beach, Natural Phenomenon, Goanese, Party, Night Falls, and so on—but together they form the opus Indian Waves, a sweeping tide of color and gesture whose ebbs and flows are both optimistic and ominous.
The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue with a new essay by Shanay Jhaveri.
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