In this solo show, Reggie Burrows Hodges presents a new body of work that contemplates the notion of turning a big ship—of marshalling collective will and labor to resist a powerful current. The sloop and the sea captain are central motifs, as Hodges engages with and expands the tradition of maritime painting.
In Hodges’s compositions, an inky black ground peeks through gauzy layers of color. Masts and sails morph into female forms that steward and navigate vessels through uncertain waters. In earlier work, the artist captured glimpses into intimate, personal histories, rendering quiet scenes of community or solitude in soft focus, as if filtered through the hazy lens of memory. With this new subject, Hodges casts his gaze on a broader narrative: as the poet Derek Walcott writes, “the sea is History.” This history—one of both exploration and exploitation—forms another ground for the paintings, surfacing as clearly as his black underpainting. Yet, simultaneously, these paintings are oriented toward the future: redirecting the ship requires the collective embrace of possibility and change.
Reggie Burrows Hodges is the inaugural recipient of the Bartlett H. Hayes, Jr. Prize, awarded by the Addison Artist Council (AAC). The AAC builds on the Addison’s nearly century-long commitment to supporting living artists. The museum’s storied history includes many “firsts” with exhibitions, acquisitions, or residencies by such highly regarded artists as Josef Albers, Ruth Asawa, Dawoud Bey, Sheila Hicks, Hans Hofmann, Andy Warhol, and Francesca Woodman. The Hayes Prize continues this extraordinary tradition by providing an emerging and/or under-recognized artist their first ever solo show at a collecting museum, along with a publication, acquisition of art for the collection, and an artist’s residency on campus.
This exhibition is sponsored by the Addison Artist Council and AAC Founders Alison Beaumont Hoeven ’83, Nicholas ’94 and Sasha Olney, Andrew Z. Scharf ’02, Sarah C. Wendell ’04 and Stephen C. Sherrill, Jr. ’05, and Sarah ’83 and Nathanael ’83 Worley; the Winton Family Fund; and the Edward E. Elson Artist-in-Residence Fund.
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by Lightshed Photography Studio