"I am a representational painter, but not a painter of appearances. I paint representational pictures of emotional situations."
The interesting thing to note here is that initially the frame and picture were one item carved from the same piece of wood starting somewhere in the 12th - 13th century and because this process was expensive to carry out it was abandoned and so the manufacture of elaborately crafted frames as separate items sprang up and became an industry in itself.
It seems to me that Howard Hodgkin essentially is the first modern artist to return to this old tradition of seeing the picture and frame as requisite parts of the "one" thing and i'm not sure whether he's done this knowingly or unwittingly. The difference is very contemporary and "transgressive" in that he went one step further and painted the frame also as if it was part of the composition. If we look around we can clearly see that the vast majority of cheap factory frames today are used to "delineate" the edge of the artist's composition and direct the viewer's gaze into the central square, rectangle or oval, becoming for the most part demarcation devices. The point i want to make here is that Howard Hodgkin has literally made the frame his own and created a new way for contemporary audiences to 'view" or "consider" what a painting is or can be by violating the traditional function of "frame" or "boundary!"
To sum up what his art is about, in his own words, "I am a representational painter, but not a painter of appearances. I paint representational pictures of emotional situations." His paintings then are not only allusive in a general sense but more particularly, to his own very personal memories.
Howard Hodgkin is an inspiration to me because he is one more example of a painter who has stayed the course over a long period of time. That is getting harder and harder to do with the constant clamouring for "novelty." From out of his own peculiarity and agenda he has made a whole body of work that resonates with human emotional experience, universality and timelessness.
For more information about Howard Hodgkin click here