Clyde Hopkins

#117. David Sweet writes on Clyde Hopkins

“Die Einen Sind im Licht”, 2017

Clyde Hopkins: A path through dark and light.

You would expect a body of work, created over a span more than forty years, to display a pattern of development from early attempts, to the mature output where an artist’s ‘signature style’ has fully evolved and is then consolidated. But the paintings of Clyde Hopkins seem to resist this schematic interpretation. Those from the late seventies and early eighties are stylistically different to those produced in the late eighties. Another change occurs in the nineties and from 2008 or thereabouts the paintings seem to take on characteristics almost the opposite of those to be found in work from earlier in his career. So, instead of one signature style, there are several.

Each of these signature styles is fully resolved and sufficient, rather than marking an evolutionary stage in an ongoing narrative. Each deploys an established set of procedures and material properties. The pattern that emerges is more a series of brackets rather than a smooth gradient, each bracket containing a group of works with similar visual qualities. As in algebra the contents of the bracket have to be dealt with separately but there is a further move that can be made with the device: The paintings can be bracketed with works by other painters to widen the context in which they may be appreciated.

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