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Jim Hodges (b. 1957)
Jim Hodges (b. 1957)

Folding (Into a Greater World)

Jim Hodges (b. 1957)
Folding (Into a Greater World)
signed, titled and dated 'Jim Hodges 1998 Folding (Into A Greater World)' (on the reverse)
diptych--cut mirror mounted on canvas
72 3/16 x 96¼ in. (183.3 x 244.4 cm.)
Executed in 1998. (2)
CRG Gallery, New York
Acquired from the above by the present owner, 1998
B. Arning, "Radar: Jim Hodges An Artist's Mirror Image," Out Magazine, issue 58, September 1998, p. 38 (illustrated in color).
P. Viladas, "Mr. Norton's Cabinets of Wonders," New York Times Magazine, 21 February 1999, p. 67 (illustrated in color).
P. Viladas, "Style: Grand Illusions," New York Times Magazine, 21 February 1999, p. 55 (illustrated in color).
A. Kohn, "Jim Hodges," Art L!es, issue 42, Spring 2004, p. 69 (Illustrated in color).
M. B. Brenner, "Exhibitionism: Jim Hodges," Austin Chronicle, 30 April 2004 (illustrated in color).
A. Millett, "'Jim Hodges' at Weatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro, NC," Sculpture, vol. 24, no. 1, January/February 2005, p. 75.
New York, CRG Gallery, Jim Hodges: Recent Work, September-October 1998.
Saratoga Springs, Skidmore College, The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery; Austin Museum of Art; Greensboro, University of North Carolina, Weatherspoon Art Museum and Cleveland, Museum of Contemporary Art, Jim Hodges, June 2003-May 2005, pp. 32-33, 56-57 and 98, no. 5 (illustrated in color).

Lot Essay

To create Folding (Into a Greater World), Jim Hodges meticulously adhered mirrored tiles to two joined side-by-side canvases, creating a modern-day mosaic with a tessellated surface that gives off infinite reflections, shaping and manipulating the light and space around it. The large-scale mirror diptych is a continuation of an exploration of the medium first embarked upon by Hodges in 1996, and in it one sees Hodges at his best, reflecting ordinary aspects of daily life in their shimmering beauty. Interaction with the mirror is a striking experience. Passing through its realm causes one's reflected figure to fragment in parallel with the grid and dart across the surface as if suddenly composed of hundreds of unique elements. In the reflection cast by the reassembled mirror one sees an entirely new view of the world, encountering unique elements with each glimpse.

Though we surround ourselves with them, covering our walls with their functional surfaces, the mirror is an inherently charged object, as it projects a reflected self-image not usually seen. Typical of the best of his work, Hodges has taken an object out of ubiquity and, though distinctive and visually stimulating formal choices, made manifest its most intriguing qualities. Hodges sees the mirror as composed of two major elements--light and reflection. With his utilization of the mirror, doubling both light and self, Hodges invites the viewer to complete his piece, offering an appeal to confront one's own fragmented image. In doing so, Hodges quietly asks us to consider the complex and extraordinarily unstable notion of self-reflection. Folding (Into a Greater World) is not only astoundingly beautiful in its inherent simplicity but also extraordinarily smart, prompting us to dig deep into our consciousness to encounter our own sense of self.

Folding (Into a Greater World) is a celebration of the small slivers and fragments of life that Hodges holds so dear. He finds beauty in the broken and a sense of wholeness in the small incremental moments that in their quiet way define our lives. Raised in Spokane, Washington, surrounded by the awe-inspiring landscape of the Pacific Northwest, Hodges grew up transported by nature and discovered in himself a profound appreciation of the simplicity of unadulterated form that composed his surrounding panoramas. This exposure to such wild beauty throughout his most formative years is transposed into an enthusiasm for life's small pieces as he raises them up into something wonderful with which to interact.

Hodges moved to New York City in 1984 to pursue his MFA and distinguished himself by creating elegant and restrained pieces, utterly distinct from much of the shock value-based art being produced by his contemporaries. Hodges entered into the art world at the height of the AIDS crisis, losing many of his friends and colleagues to the epidemic. This panoply of loss unobtrusively entered into his art, with the fragility and preciousness of life defining many of his formal choices in subsequent bodies of work. Hodges' Flower Curtain series provides a clear example of the formal manifestation of this fragility: delicate silk flowers are joined together only by their tips to form airy, ephemeral barriers between one place and the next. Overtly referring to AIDS only once in his work, Hodges instead lets his pieces speak for themselves, documenting the impermanent nature of existence with quiet, insistent, yet highly-charged formal metaphors for vulnerability and fragility.

In 1996 Hodges began working with mirrors, commencing the series by smashing the back of a supported reflective glass to create streaked marks of shatter across its surface. Hodges has spoken of this quasi-destructive movement as a monument to his desire to break from the past and start again on a new plane of artistic existence. In Folding (Into a Greater World), Hodges embarks upon this new step with a sense of celebration, calling to mind the great dance parties of the disco culture with the mosaic pattern's replication of the ultimate symbol of exuberance-the disco ball. The disco was "expansive-a ballroom and a place of celebration....The effect was that you were Cinderella finally at the ball with Prince Charming there at your fingertips, somewhere among the crowd....[Some places] had a reputation not just for transcendent music but for transcending the boundaries of race and class that other clubs reinforced. In the minds of many, it was the disco equivalent of utopia" (J. Gomez quoted in, Remember Heaven: Jim Hodges and Andy Warhol, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, exh. cat., 2007, p. 88).

Hodges pulled at the very nature of his mediums, focusing on lending them a new perspective: "I get to a point where I am turning a material in a way so that something else is seen, an unforming of the material to see what's there. It's about discovery" (Jim Hodges, op. cit., p. 15). Hiding from nothing and diverting no attention away from the material at hand, Hodges injects himself into his work with his direct exploration of existence presented--and here reflected--to the viewer in the clearest possible manner.

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