Consisting of fourteen feet of carefully sewn delicate silk flowers, Jim Hodges's A Line to You is a poetic work that gestures toward the heavens. Made with the intention of attaching to the ceiling and cascading downward, A Line to You seems to speak from the artist's voice to someone who is materially intangible, perhaps above us in body and spirit. While the title of the work is directed to someone specific, that someone is conspicuously absent. Elegant and colorful yet spare and basic in form, A Line to You is fearlessly beautiful, if a melancholic.
Like many of his peers generationally and socially such as Robert Gober, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, and Donald Moffett, Hodges came of age in an era when many loved ones were lost to AIDS. Their response was to make works that measured love and loss, by borrowing from the visual languages of Minimalism and Conceptualism to create works that were formally rigorous but conceptually personal and emotional. Of all the minimalist artists, Hodges seems to be the perfect successor of the artist Sol Lewitt, who by far was the most generous in spirit of his peers. So too, is Hodges generous with what he gives a viewer--a powerful sense of emotion and an easy on the eyes kind of beauty. Like Felix Gonzalez-Torres's light string sculpture North. The present sculpture manages to attain a spiritual dimension by reaching upward, skyward with the most simple but elegant of materials.
Like Hodges curtain works, spider web works and paper napkin drawings, A Line to You has a strong sense of presence and way of embracing the viewer as if to make the personal something public. To quote the art historian Michael Fried's formal theorem: "Presentness is grace." A Line to You is just this.
03344750 Felix Gonzalez-Torres, "Untitled" (North), 1993
Marieluise Hessel Collection, on permanent loan to the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, Annadale-on-Hudson, New York