Jim Hodges does a lot with flowers. Also mirrors, granite, scarves, and, oh yeah, paper. The results are magical and exhilarating. Also fragile and sorrowful. In many of his works, a collage aesthetic is at play.
Paper was the first material that fascinated him. He talked about it during his 2009 exhibition Love, Etc. at the Centre Pompidou in Paris in an interview with Christophe Ecoffet. Hodges liked “the flexibility of paper, how paper can tear, and be unfolded and folded.” In one work, he collaged hearts cut from painted newspaper.
“From there it expanded to other materials that attracted me,” said Hodges. He’s used silk flowers in various ways. For the work Every Touch, he ironed the petals flat and sewed them together. For Changing Things, he took apart silk and plastic flowers and pinned 342 petals and leaves individually to the wall.
“Materials draw my attention,” says Hodges. Especially everyday materials. “Then I wait for the material to give information on how to access it.”
He was drawn to mirrors for a long time, not knowing what to do with them in his art. It was only when he broke the mirror that he understood how to use it. In his art, the broken mirror is a kind of collage whose original unity is present.
Christine Wong Yap writes, “Hodges’ work can be luminous or colorful, and suggestive of pleasure or happiness, but it is also characterized by themes of death and fragility.”
Many earlier works dealt with AIDS. In A Diary of Flowers, he used paper napkins as the support for daily drawings in pen. Pinned to the gallery wall, the material looked like the leaves of a very delicate book, a book of moments.
These works remind me of poems by the Portuguese poet, Eugénio de Andrade, such as “Crystallizations” (translated by Alexis Levitin):
“…How can we blossom
under the weight of so much light…
I am passing through:
I love the ephemeral.”
On the other hand, Hodges’ more recent work, inspired by travel in India, started with boulders and shiny metal foil in pink, blue, gold, and lavender. A current show at the Dallas Museum of Art shows the wide-ranging forms his art has taken: check it out here! Read “Jim Hodges and the Eros of Everyday” here.