Painted in 1996, and held in the same private collection since that year, Escape reveals Howard Hodgkin’s pictorial poetics. Evocative of a sublime pastoral, strips of verdant green fill the panel as an emerald streak flashes across the expanse. Characteristically, Hodgkin has incorporated the frame into his composition, his brushwork extending beyond the painting’s conventional boundaries. The artist’s heady, atmospheric works are almost always inspired by real encounters that have been distilled through the veil of memory. Although they may resemble real landscapes and architectural settings, these paintings—typically created over long periods—instead show a refracted, prismatic view. The combination of animated brushwork and non-representational use of colour captures the shifting viewpoints and perspectives that result from the passage of time. They exist somewhere between truth and fiction, offering outpourings of feeling and perception. As critic John McEwen has written, ‘All Hodgkin’s pictures can be thought of as the grit of some experience pearled by reflection. They begin where words fail, evocations of mood and sensation more than visual records, but descriptions indubitably of the physical as well as the emotional reality’ (J. McEwen, Howard Hodgkin: Forty Paintings, exh. cat. Whitechapel Art Gallery, London 1984, p. 10).