[The San Francisco Examiner]
Friday, April 25, 1997 · Page D 10
©1997 San Francisco Examiner
Succeeding by resisting early success
THE PROBLEM San Francisco artists, particularly painters,
typically face is development beyond early promise. The
local arts community is supportive, sometimes smotheringly,
of first expressions. But that support tends to become
proprietary and dictatorial. There is nothing more stifling
to an artist than a set of rigid expectations dictated by
collectors and gallerists. Yet the sales that accompany
minor variations on the same theme are so seductive, few are
able to resist.
"Crowns, Candles, and Crosses," a show of new paintings by
Julie Hodge at TERRAIN, 165 Jessie St., through May 10, is a
celebration of oil paint's sensuous nature. Hodge delights
in the degrees of her medium's fluidity and viscosity, and
she plays with its reflectivity by mixing layers of glazing
and pigment. For those aesthetes who derive pleasure from
oil paint, it will be a real thrill to see, in "Crowns," a
line of creamy white pigment used to define the bottom curve
of a crown drip, frozen under layers of dark glazes.
Hodge's subjects are announced in the show's title, and
candles and crosses are used to emphasize the flatness of
the canvas support. The banks of candles out of some dim
memory of a pre-Vatican Council Catholic church create
patterns that read from a distance as abstractions.
The most seductive paintings are those featuring crowns.
Hodge favors a tonality that ranges from deep oxblood brown
lightening to burgundy out of which creamy crowns emerge as
ghostly relics of the past. Collectively, the paintings
create a tone of elegy for a day when religion and monarchy
united to form a philosophical and political unity, offering
a total belief package to the unwashed and uneducated.
Return to Paintings by Julie Hodge