Piecing together bodily fragments, Hodsoll constructs the forms in her compositions out of negative space. Entangled figures appear out of gaps, creases, slits and cracks, and the spaces between them represent painted expressions of intimacy. Previously focused on the depiction of a single nude, the artist recently introduced a second figure into her paintings. The introduction of these “guests” signifies a move from representations of the body, to its use: sexual activity, the body language that surrounds it, and the physical experience of an exchange of pleasure. While the figures in Hodsoll’s images appear to writhe together in total bodily union, their identities remain ambiguous. Headless figures lock limbs as Hodsoll delves into our collective psyche and examines an irony so often pervading sex today – despite physical presence, our minds remain absent, instead residing more comfortably in varying degrees of emotional detachment.
Hodsoll equally twists our expectations of scale: the smaller the canvas, the more detail she presents, drawing the viewer closer to the erotic content of her pictures as if inviting us into her own painted peep show. Alongside smaller works, giant canvases populate opposing corners in the gallery space and surround an orgiastic sculptural interpretation of her forms in red resin-coated wire, luring her audience towards the cavernous shapes that gently allude to their penetrating subject matter.
With another glance to earlier nude compositions where rolls of belly fat or wobbly curves replace stereotypically “hot” bodies, the artist depicts sexual activity from unidealised angles. Despite maintaining aesthetic seduction of the viewer through her languorous lines, subtle colour palette and juicily curvaceous forms, Hodsoll confronts our expectations of visual depictions of sex, as well as of the act itself.
PoV borrows its title from an acronym that describes a genre of pornography in which sexual acts are filmed and watched from the point of view of one partner. Whether on linen, board, canvas, paper or leather, Hodsoll’s heavily cropped and zoomed-in sex scenes inch towards abstraction, igniting an inner voyeuristic desire to understand precisely who’s point of view these paintings display. Deliberately leaving this question unanswered, Hodsoll allows herself to remain enmeshed with her figures. While the viewer self-centeredly compares their own activity to that of the faceless figures before them, Hodsoll watches herself from above, distancing herself from sex and intimacy, only her body and her brushwork remaining present.
Alba Hodsoll (b.1990) is a British artist living and working between London and New York. Since completing her BA in Visual and Critical Studies at the New York School of Visual Arts, she completed a residency with Girls Only, appeared in The Winter Salon in London, Send More Nudes at Art Basel Miami Beach and most recently, in October 2016, exhibited forty ink drawings in her first solo exhibition, Life Lines, at Alex Eagle Studio in London.
PoV was curated by Dominic Jones and Antonia Marsh.