Reggie Burrows Hodges does not paint transcriptions of his past, but, more often than not, the big and subtle and far away but close feelings that memory can engender. Indeed, one could say the works displayed in The Reckoning are fragments of memory that are writ large in the artist's imagination. And it's there, in Hodges's fecund imagination, that these paintings had their first home, a universe where they lived and breathed and grew, nurtured by memory's soil, and its various components: love, passion, truth, and regret.
— Hilton Als, 2023
Karma presents The Reckoning, a series of new paintings by Los Angeles–born artist Reggie Burrows Hodges, from May 6 to July 7, 2023. This marks the artist's first solo exhibition in Los Angeles.
The Reckoning takes reflection as its primary motif: a handheld mirror, the glimmer of a sliding door, a pool of water, a figure bowed in contemplation. The series, which first debuted in Get Lifted!, an exhibition at Karma organised by Hilton Als, has been continuously developed over the past three years. Rendered in acrylic and pastel, Hodges's succinct vocabulary of space, rhythm, and light confounds the boundaries between the corporeal and the spiritual.
In The Reckoning, reflective surfaces are inverted, cropped, distorted, or fleeting. Hodges's pared-down, impressionistic gestures in Vera Rose (2023) carve out the silhouette of a woman seated before a full-length mirror. Inside the uncanny world of the mirror, her smaller double faces away from her real-life counterpart. In Slumber Aura (2022), soft, pastel-coloured brushstrokes depicting a domestic space are juxtaposed with a dense, obscured figure, her hands clasped as if in prayer. The subject's reflection in her vanity mirror hovers over the composition. Inner Impulse (2023) depicts the silhouette of a woman in contemplation, submerged in inky blackness. One hand cups her chin, while the other grasps a small mirror, articulated by a burst of grey. A second mirror, affixed to the wall, creates a labyrinth of reflections, none of which offer legibility to the viewer. Throughout the exhibition, mirrored surfaces multiply, operating as potent sites of transportation and slippery disappearance.
Hodges likens his compositions to music: his paintings are movements of whole and half steps, frameworks for the repetition and advancement of motif and gesture. As silence is integral to sound in the creation of rhythm and harmony, crucial to Hodges's visual language is negative space, which in his works takes form in stark blacks rising into the picture plane. Taken as a whole, The Reckoning follows this resonant structure: the series begins with subjects alone with their reflections and progresses into dynamic scenes wherein multivalent reflections populate the composition. In Alfred's Gift (2023), three figures meet at the threshold of a sliding door. The glass, at once transparent and reflective, obscures distinctions between inside and outside and self and likeness. This moment, charged and imminent, recalls a refracted memory: shifting and changing with time, dispersed through multiple perspectives.
Reggie Burrows Hodges (b. 1965, Compton, CA) is a Los Angeles–born painter based in Maine. In 2020, Hodges received the Ellis-Beauregard Foundation's fellowship in the visual arts and the Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant. In 2021, Hodges's work was exhibited in the retrospective Hawkeye at the Center for Maine Contemporary Art in Rockland, Maine. In the fall of 2023, his work will be mounted in a solo exhibition at the Addison Gallery of American Art in Andover, Massachusetts. His work is held in numerous museum public collections, including at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco; the Tate Modern, London; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Art Institute of Chicago; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Studio Museum of Harlem, New York; and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Press release courtesy Karma.