Artwork by Thomas Sherlock Hodgson,  Study for Dark Then Mostly Light, 1956

Tom Hodgson
Study for Dark Then Mostly Light, 1956

mixed media on paper
signed lower right
7 x 14 ins ( 17.8 x 35.6 cms )

Auction Estimate: $5,000.00$4,000.00 - $5,000.00

Price Realized $5,900.00
Sale date: November 19th 2019

Private Collection, Toronto
Tom Hodgson's first period of abstraction between 1947 and 1964 was one of his most transformative periods. Growing tired of the rigour and restrictions of this formalism and figural works, the artist totally rejected realism in favour of abstraction. Often photographing still lifes and objects in his immediate vicinity, Hodgson would later use the photographs as reference, distorting, abstracting and rotating the objects in the final execution. Bold colours and an emphasis on thick black outlines typify this period of abstraction for the artist and also reference international trends by artist's like Picasso, Miro and Kandinsky. “Study for Dark then Mostly Light” typifies this integral part of the artist's career and his experimentations with abstraction. Favouring bright contrasting blocks of yellow, chartreuse, eggplant and lavender, punctuated with swirling, strong, black lines, Hodgson presents a visually dynamic and luminous study with very little deviation in the final 1956 canvas work.

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Thomas Sherlock Hodgson
(1924 - 2006) Painters Eleven

Born in Toronto, Ontario, he studied in Toronto at the Central Technical School, 1939-42. During the Second World War he served with the R.C.A.F. overseas and on his return to civilian life resumed his studies in art at the Ontario College of Art where he graduated in 1946. He joined the staff of an advertising agency as assistant to the art director until he entered the field of commercial art. In 1956 he became a teacher for the Artists Workshop, Toronto. But while he was developing in his artistic career he was excelling in athletics and was on the Canadian Olympic paddling team (1952 and 1956).

Back in Toronto he joined with a group of artists which included Jack Bush, Oscar Cahén, Alexandra Luke, J.W.G. MacDonald, Ray Mead, Kazuo Nakamura, William Ronald, Harold Town, Walter Yarwood and Hortense Gordon who were interested in non-objective painting. This group decided to call themselves Painters Eleven and they brought non-objective painting too Ontario in a big way. Hodgson was particularly influenced by one of them, Oscar Cahén, who, like Hodgson was a commercial artist in search of freedom and adventure in painting. Perhaps more than anything it was Cahén’s colour juxtapositions which greatly influenced Hodgson. Solo exhibitions by Hodgson were held in 1954, 1956 and 1957 (at the Gallery of Contemporary Art).

In 1958 Hugo McPherson in his article on Toronto’s visor and new life in painting, noted Hodgson among the good painters of that city. In 1961 Hodgson with 23 other artists, was featured in an issue of Canadian Art magazine and noted by Robert Fulford as follows, “A Hodgson canvas seems to storm over us, filling our eyes with its swarm of apparently unrelated images. It is not until long after our first glimpse of the work that its organization and structure become apparent… We begin to see that the strange colours are not only the result of a rather eccentric colour sense but also are the result of space and light.”

His later exhibitions revealed his interest in pop art and the female figure (exhibited at Albert White Galleries, Toronto, 1965) and he continued to achieve greater success in his oils which were shown at Needham, Harper and Streets of Canada, Toronto, 1967. His work is included in the collections of the National Gallery of Canada, the Art Gallery of Ontario and the University of British Columbia. He was a member of the Ontario Society of Artists (1954), Canadian Society of Painters in Water Colour (1954), Canadian Group of Painters (1956) and an Associate of the Royal Canadian Academy (1962). He lived in Toronto.

Source: "A Dictionary of Canadian Artists, Volume II”, compiled by Colin S. MacDonald, Canadian Paperbacks Publishing Ltd, Ottawa, 1979