Harrison Center for the Arts; through Jan. 27
In Susan Hodgin’s oil on canvas painting “The Sublime” you can see dried drips of paint, not all that unusual in abstract work these days. But, from the viewer’s perspective, some of the paint drips seemed to have rolled upwards. The takeaway here might be that, when it comes to the sublime, the normal rules of gravity don’t apply.
In a show providing a generous selection of Hodgin’s work over the past two years, you can perceive a quest for the sublime as a source of inspiration and power. You can also sense, in these paintings, a creative tension between Cubist-like building up of volume and freeform expressionism. And you can often, through this tension, perceive a particular landscape through the abstract lens of her painter’s eye.
“See Rock City,” with its enticing mosaic of bold color unveiling itself from a gray cloudscape, recalls certain landscapes of the American West, while “It was hot the day we visited the cliff dwellings” refuses you the comfort of a horizon line. The glowing yellows that dominate this composition give you instead the impression of sunlight hitting sandstone. And in the standout painting “Ceiba,” you can just barely make out the canopy of a Ceiba tree as it might appear in your dream long after you originally perceived in the wild.