Comments on: Two Exhibitions of Paintings by Pete Hoida Abstract Critical is a not-for profit company aiming to establish a new critical context for all generations of artists involved with ambitious abstract art. Sun, 09 Nov 2014 17:23:33 +0000 hourly 1 By: Patrick Jones Tue, 16 Jul 2013 13:52:39 +0000 Well Done Pete for producing such an inspiring body of work.Sadly I wasnt able to see it being busy in Dublin with my own,but thanks to Sam Cornish for linking the two shows.The link ,apart from our unfashionable status,seems relevant from both our decisions to move a long way out of London to pursue our practise.Personally I rarely have the kind of studio visits from artists that were commonplace in the 80s.I sink or swim on my own judgement.The existance of Abstract Critical as a centre of discourse makes up for our isolation and Im delighted to be included on it ,Many Thanks

By: Alan Gouk Sun, 14 Jul 2013 11:39:53 +0000 Sorry — it should be union with poetry.

By: Alan Gouk Sun, 14 Jul 2013 11:34:44 +0000 Perhaps not the best site for this, but the computer is going to sleep now and I’m going back to Scotland. But I would urge anyone out there who has a nose for historical parallels to read the chapters from Richard Taruskin’s History of Western Music Volume 3 – The Nineteenth Century, on “the New German School”; Wagner; and Brahms – before embarking on the 20th Century. Neo-Hegelian “permanent revolution” of historicist progressivism versus continuity of concern, a classical engagement with the “permanent collection”, ( what would eventually become Eliot’s Tradition and the Individual Talent”
I find myself to be a confirmed “Brahmin” in this debate – to quote just one paragraph on Brahms’s 1st Symphony —-
“At the very least, it is not the sort of comfortable music one associates with epigones. It is not just a pleasing play of tones , but a gesture. We may interpret the thwarted chromatic impulse however we wish: as repressed libido, as counter thrust against the” New Germany”, as anything
that may strike us as relevant or illuminating either with respect to Brahms or to ourselves as listeners. All such readings, however, can only be partial. They place limits on a meaning that, in its powerful inchoateness ,precedes and subsumes all semantic paraphrases. And that, we may recall, was precisely the essence and purpose of “absolute music”, lately rejected by the “New Germans” in the name of “union and poetry’. Brahms rejected the union, and by the force of his example restored the viability of pre-semantic or “absolute” musical meaning, the sort of meaning that is indistinguishable from “structure” ( that is , from the particularities of syntax that, by eliciting affect, produces a meaningful effect ). “

By: Robin Greenwood Fri, 12 Jul 2013 13:17:22 +0000 See what you’ve brought on now, Gouk! I’ll leave you to unpick this little mess.

By: Irwin Shure Fri, 12 Jul 2013 09:50:30 +0000 Whilst Robin Greenwood has been looking for “a way forward for abstraction”, it appears he has been pre-empted. According to Alan Gouk, Pete Hoida has (necessarily subconsciously) sleep-walked into it. Wether this is how he got there I cannot begin to guess. He’s done it, and without as far as I am aware, claiming to be putting together a programme for the next big thing; does any artist succeed by talking about it before doing it ?

Having briefly scanned BWK’s article on Hoida’s exhibitions, I decided to make a diversion on my journey to Hay-on-Wye. I had a memory of seeing some interesting abstract paintings by Hoida in Greenwich, what must have been in the eighties or nineties (?) but seemed a hundred years ago. And again, three or four paintings appeared in a Cork Street gallery some five or so years ago. I enjoyed pictures in both gallery and church but (not being a painter) found it difficult to come to some definite opinion about the relative merits of various canvases or for that matter periods in his work.

Whilst away in Hay I re-read BWK’s review with interest; and began to consider if a ‘correct’ reading of the paintings was possible. This is I think an interesting question but one I am not in a position to properly address, particularly as I am not a painter. However, this led me back to the catalogue introduction by Mel Gooding and back to the exhibitions on my return journey. With regard to BWK’s characterisation of the color in Weston Central having synthetic bombast “that brings back something of Halley’s anti-pastoral preoccupations” I could not agree. BWK uses the word “florescent”, which I think is exact in its meaning of “bursting into flower”. The colour in this work seemed to me no brighter, no more intense, than that of flower garden in summer at early dusk. With reference to Halley the word “fluorescent” is more accurate and as he sees it anti-pastoral, whereas Hoida”s color in this as in the other paintings is utterly naturalistic, powerful without being forced.

A significant disagreement was in the gallery, and I am still uncertain where I stand on this; I had a distinct preference for Big Pitman and Fire in the Iron over the quieter works. Was it, I wondered, that BWK favored the work that seemed to have been pared down to fewer essential elements, making it easier and more immediately comprehensible? Behind the strength in color, and multiple diversity in these two works lay a complexity that was either bewildering or forceful. I remain with my memory of this experience partly convinced by BWK yet uncertain of my view.

Looking at the reviews/criticism of Hoida’s previous exhibitions on his website I note that several have commented on a relation to Ivon Hitchens, mainly, and rather superficially to do with the proportions of the canvas, and I think a simplistic take on Hoida’s engagement with nature. Mel Gooding in the catalogue introduction has a more original and insightful take on nature in abstraction and Hitchens/Hoida. I would have welcomed a development of his forward.

Finally, Robin Greenwood, poetry cannot be dismissed, any more than music, as a “cop-out”. Terry Ryall already clearly explained why the poem “Faith” was relevant to the article on the John Armleder Show. I’m sure that the tone in which Greenwood expresses himself , which is a very large part of what he is always saying, will not have been missed by many.

I for one welcome the fact that music has been mentioned by the commentators on this page. Whilst Gouk so perceptively appreciates the new developments these canvases achieve, and so deftly uses examples from another art form to illustrate his thesis, (without conflating the two), we are aware of one of our best painters and most original writers on art. If he sometimes digresses it should be forgiven. BWK draws his neatly put together writing to a close with a poetic reflection on his return (to London?) accompanied by Miles Davis alongside Jimmy Cobb. Rick Vick seems to have been inspired to a couple of lines of poetic prose by the exhibition. When he visits the church of “St Mary of the Virgins” (sic) – read St Mary of the Angels – beneath the long sweep of the barrel vaulted ceiling he sees “ canvases like icons painted by fallen angels or made visionary by opium or mushrooms”. Hoida is here with Blue Bossa, with Morenita Silenciosa, and Sprechgesang. There is even a cheeky little painting (with disc, and why not; he seems to be saying lets confound the puritans!) called Dansette.

By: Robin Greenwood Tue, 09 Jul 2013 20:38:29 +0000 Likewise, I’m sure.

By: Sam Tue, 09 Jul 2013 15:04:42 +0000 If you’ve got something to say…

By: Robin Greenwood Tue, 09 Jul 2013 13:55:38 +0000 Steady on. Hoida will be quoting his poetry again if you get any more highfalutin…

By: Alan Gouk Mon, 08 Jul 2013 10:56:52 +0000 Just to forestall those wiseacres out there who will say that it is a truism that all piano works make the air in the room reverberate, I can’t help you if you are unable to sense the difference between the kind of noise Beethoven makes and the way Debussy uses the pedals to emphasise the sheer sound of overlapping layers suspended above and below one another. Debussy, himself a great pianist, used to play Beethoven with great vehemence, so he knew what he didn,t want to do.
There are precedents in Beethoven,s “halo of trills” toward the end of the late sonatas, and in Lizst,s Jeux D,Eaux at the Villa D,Este and St. Paul Marchant sur les Flots, but as Debussy said, Lizst is still major and minor, still percussive conflict, dramatic resolution.
This all prompted by the remarkable recording just playing on Radio 3 of Opus 111 on a Graff forte-piano by Ronald Brautigan. Somehow these older pianos allow the high, middle and low registers to separate out and give their individual characters better than the modern, if played as well as they are here.

By: Alan Gouk Thu, 04 Jul 2013 11:37:39 +0000 Just as the kinds of sonority Debussy introduced into music for the piano for the first time, in which a physical reverberation animates the air in the room in live performance, and there is an optimum distance from which the listener can experience it , taken up by later composers in many forms without ever quite surpassing it,- so, a genuine colour painting, as Sam perceptively commented some time back, ” charges the space” in front of it, so that there is an optimum viewing distance, and the colour resonances seem to hang in the air out in front, creating an atmospheric buzz, not so much an illusion as a physical-optical sensation – a simple fact about the truly modern picture . Not all paintings, however much they may rely on colour chording, achieve this or wish to achieve it. There are other forms of tangibility just as persuasive, but when it does happen , it is because the painter has subliminally been alive to the possibility and sleep-walked his way towards it – because to do so deliberately would probably undermine the possibility. The curious fact about Pete Hoida’s new paintings is that this animation of the air in front of the picture has occurred by keeping the colour quiet, with subtle gradations of greyed blues ,violets and ochres against a grey ground, shading to black.
It is gradation of colour which best gives atmospheric depth in painting, but here too it gives forward pressure , while strong oppositions assert the surface and the paint which carries them. Even in Damson Hull,from an earlier phase in Hoida’s work, the opposition of primary colours is avoided, mediated or interlaced with shades of grey [ though not fifty of them - sorry ], sometimes achieved by layering white strokes directly into black to produce a silken effect. This is a picture in which the physical surface is asserted more emphatically than in the sprayed-ground pictures which followed it, but between these two poles there is plenty of room for manoeuvre, and Hoida is well placed to continue to explore, – I’d say to mine this rich seam, if I hadn’t already banned metaphoric cliche from art-writing.
This is not the woeful subjectivity-run -riot of David Sweet’s advancing trains and trench warfare, though he too seems to have picked up on something about the “presentness” [ Fried} of the modern picture. It used to be called " bodying forth".
There has been far too much subjectivity in art writing in recent decades. What we need is some simple though hard earned objectivity. The big question about " presentness" is whether it is founded on objective fact, or a delusion of the observing subject; and can there ever be a definitive answer when the possibility of "the objectivity of taste" is confounded every day. No matter how awful the art --the Gallacher Bros, the Chapman Bros, --, there is always someone who is going to "like" it. I am not offering this analogy with Debussy's piano pieces [ Images, Estampes] as a direct formative or causal link with the recent Hoida’s , or as a validation of the methods of abstract painting in general, since they, [ music and painting ] are irreducible to one another – but just to indicate one aspect of the way the sensation of physicality in painting has mutated since cubism.