Friday, April 9, 2010

Art New England Review

I've been reviewed! The writer, Martina Windels, visited my studio about a month and a half ago and we spent a long time talking. She looked at both of the shows I had up at the time at RWU and the Bert Gallery. I would have rather she reviewd the Bert show, since that contained my latest work, but understand why she chose the longer show at RWU. Art New England only publishes every two months, so most shows are already down by the time they're reviewed. But the RWU will be up until June, so there's plenty of time to see if you agree with her assesment.

I'm generally happy with the critique, even the "They fail, however..." part. I know the large Badlands triptych was more of a transitional piece, and if I failed to convey the desolation, it could be because I found the Badlands not desolate, but incredibly rich in color and texture.  See what you think...

Criticism is easier to take if it is well thought out and informed. I know Martina spent a long time looking at my work, my website and asking questions. I'd rather get a bit of negative feedback in a review with substance than a flattering reprint of my press release. And I have no complaints about the ending!

So, thank you Martina, for a "fair and balanced" review.

(Art New England doesn't link all of its reviews from its website, so I took the liberty of *sigh* retyping the whole thing here)
Art New England APRIL/MAY 2010

Roger Williams University Law School Gallery - Bristol, RI - - Through June 2010

In this fifteen-year restrospective, the Bristol Art Museum assembles just a small sampling of this prolific painter's work.

Here one sees how Kathy Hodge intently examines a subject for a long period of time. This exhibit includes work from several series: Train, Russia, and National Park. While working on the latter, she was in an artist residency at the Badlands National Park. She captured this landscape by breaking down and patterning earth tones. They fail, however, to convey the desolate nature she tries to depict. Hodge's patchy and detailed application of small color fields work much better when she paints the hard surfaces of buildings, as in Wait. In this lively and semi-abstracted scene, half a train emerges from an old metal building. The objects in the paintings — trains, bits of building, school buses, row houses, chimneys, and power lines — are all rendered at odd and often conflicting perspectives, which make the scene both mesmerizing and perplexing.

The most compelling paintings in the exhibit are taken from the Shoemaker Series, recently exhibited at the Bert Gallery in Providence.

Intrigued by old cast-iron machinery that she discovered in a local custom shoemaker's shop, Hodge took photographs of the unusual objects. The photographs became the source of inspiration as she started with quick, unfussy, and lively watercolor sketches that captured the equipment's character. Then, using charcoal, she created more studied and realistic portraits of the machine. Workings simultaneously on several pieces and in different media, Hodge would create a third iteration of the object — a loosely composed illustration in acrylic paint, overlaid with pastels for additional color and highlights. The grand finale would be a large painting, always executed in oil, with nuanced color application and a more refined composition.

In the oil paintings, Hodge would often combine elements from different objects, splicing them at obscure angles. The more abstracted the image, the more compelling the painting, shifting the focus from content to color, shape and composition, areas in which Hodge shows her strength and confidence.

—Martina Windels


  1. thats great Kathy! I have yet to be reviewed, bully for you!

  2. Nice review, Kathy. I disagree about the Badlands, but then, you and I agree about that scenery. But the reviewer obviously looked closely and intently and heard what you said and then looked some more. You can't ask for a better observer than that. Congrats!

  3. Kathy,

    Congratulations on the shows and review! The badlands are a special place to me and I especially like your Badlands Prairie piece and The White Place; also the smaller ocher hills pieces really have the feel of the place. I get very inspired seeing your work - thanks!


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