Gregory Hodge’s art has been described as ‘visual trickery’, welcoming a plethora of interpretations as it feeds the imagination. The artist’s latest exhibition,‘Signs’ is an illusionary, gestural body of work that’s hard to pull your eyes away from.
Comprising nine large-scale, acrylic-on-canvas paintings, the playful, dynamic works are inspired by Gregory’s ongoing research into the history of illusionistic painting and abstraction. ‘These new paintings are informed by my interest in the early Cubist works of Picasso and Braque, which combined fragments of collage material into painted areas, confusing the relationship between what is an object and what is painted,’ he explains. The artist is also fascinated with other avant-garde movements such as the Italian Futurists, who experimented with a dynamic abstract form of theatre in which light, colour and architectural forms stood in for the performing body on stage.
An art-school graduate of ANU in Canberra, Gregory now divides his time between his own practise, and teaching at University of Wollongong’s School of Art. Out of uni hours, he paints from his home studio, located on the coast, an hour south of Sydney.
From a technical perspective, the widely-exhibited creative has adapted, refined and even ‘invented’ brushes and other tools to facilitate his energetic mark making. Surrounding himself with samples of carpets, as well as photocopies of rocks and empty architectural spaces, he employs processes such as trompe-l’oeil, manipulating the translucent and opaque qualities of his chosen medium to striking effect. ‘I enjoy trying to mimic the textural and material properties of these objects, and the painterly problem-solving that comes with it,’ tells the artist.
Refreshingly candid, Gregory admits that he finds it both technically and conceptually challenging to work on a large scale. ‘It’s one of the great rewards of painting – seeing new works out of the studio and hung in a gallery context with space and light around them.’