Pete Hoida: Abstract, Not Abstract?
In his introduction to a Hoida exhibition in 1994, Alan Gouk wrote: “For a painter at least, there is no such thing as “abstract space”, no such thing as “abstract volume”, and finally, no such thing as “abstraction”. Picture making,[Hoida] makes us see, consists simply in setting emotions side by side (not just colours side by side). Before colours are ready to take part in the poetic intrigue which is the art of painting, they must first of all register an emotion; they must be personalised. They must be pungent of sensation… It is rare nowadays to find an “abstract” picture which tastes and smells of the full lustre of natural sunlight and air… Hoida does persist, in trying to make clear things that are tacit and cloudy, that have no name until painted.”
Geoff Rigden, 2008: “…these not-so-abstract abstracts…”
Peter Davies, 2006: “The imagery is abstract in the sense that nothing is described beyond the plastic language of paint as a tactile and moving substance capable of producing sensations”
Estelle Lovatt, 2015: “our knowledge of the world informs what we ‘see’ in abstract art, but, honestly, abstract art is a way of seeing, in itself.”
Pete Hoida, 1995: “ I did not set out to paint a Conference pear tree outside the studio, but when I had done the painting I realised that the colours corresponded in some way that was not directly representational, in that they contained something of the startling rich creamy colour of this Conference blossom. And I would like to think that the same force and positive energy that is in nature is radiating from the painting.
I look at a Titian in the same way that I look at a Picasso. The point is not whether a painting is representational or not, but whether the artist’s manipulation of line and colour, space and light, texture and rhythm does anything.”
Pete Hoida, 2016: “I don’t want to do something that could be characterised as total abstraction; placing one colour in a skilful way against another colour is simply not enough, there has to be more to it. What is there – I want it to be something, but I don’t want it to be something that is too specific, too easily recognisable because it distracts you from looking at the painting, from looking at the surface, looking at the texture …. at all costs I want to avoid narrative but I also want to avoid pure abstraction.”
Mel Gooding in this short film of 2016 adds further thoughts on Hoida’s “abstractness”, concluding “… a way of going out into the world, to meet the world as phenomena, the world as dynamic, the world as things happening rather than things being and so I think it gives his work a peculiar and very distinctive kind of tension.”