Pete Hoida

#94. Noela James writes on Pete Hoida at the Malthouse, Stroud

‘Poet and Peasant’, 178 x 335 cm., November 1991

Origins and Diversions: Pete Hoida paintings 1991-2017, in association with SITselect at The Malthouse, 9 January – 25 February 2018

http://www.petehoida.co.uk/exhibition/malthouse.html

“What use painting is to woman or man is unknown, yet it is surely necessary, as attested to by the caveman and the dandy. I have long pursued a path that avoided the health-plans and dogmas of the high-priests and the moneylenders, and yet have overthrown nothing but painterly cliches and visual platitudes.

Over a career of fifty years I have disregarded the demand to produce series of signature works and failed to subjugate myself to mere talent. I am not looking to produce patterns; each period of painting has created, or found, its own identity. Sometimes the characteristics of the work, or foundations, carry over from one year into the next period. Or subside for a time before reappearing transformed, made new yet again. Paintings from the 2010’s can present aspects of the 70’s. The colour say, or the motif, or motive force, the brush-stroke, the time-line, the structure, its translucency or opacity, its serenity or punch. I have eschewed drawing, images, narrative and subject; I have defied the camera that always lies. I have told only the story of the brush that lies. I have quarrelled with the canvas and lost. I have found the surface and ignited it.” Pete Hoida, 2017

The Malthouse, formerly part of Stroud Brewery, is a formidable venue for an art exhibition. The bare rustic brick walls and vast height are no problem, however, for Pete Hoida’s central piece, ‘Poet and Peasant’, measuring a magnificent 178 x 335cm. The painting completely holds its own and commands the space with its sublime passages of pastel shades in pistachio, turquoise, eau de nil, yellow and pink, offset by blocks of rich sumptuous carmine overpainted by muddy purple, smeared yellow into umber, earthy green and flashes of orange and red. Hoida allows the underpainting to show through, creating a rich surface generating space and light.

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#50. “Structure Through Colour”; A Film on Pete Hoida with Mel Gooding

Pete Hoida, "Hurricane Lamp", 2016

Pete Hoida, “Hurricane Lamp”, 2016

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.”

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