Artist comments on Pete Hoida's work in online discussion at


So Pasmore, in spite of his abortive pursuit of pure abstraction, joined the ranks of the British semi abstract painters, Lanyon, Hilton, Scott , Hodgkin, and others, who cannot commit to a full hearted abstraction, but in their irresolution on the question offer succour to all those who hold on to that naturalistic spatial illusion, or hints of such, that keeps their work linked to the old English traditions of poeticised landscape reference.

Since Pete Hoida has entered the fray, I’d ask him to supply images of Antibes 1994 and Uiskhe (spelling), the sorts of painting of his I wrote about in 1994. Whenever people see horizontality they inevitably try to read landscape into it. Steps need to be taken to dissuade them. In these more recent Hoidas I see no landscape as such, but I do see weather, lowering skies, brooding imminent darkness etc. But not in these 1994 pictures. They knock spots off the quartet named in my second comment. (see above)

Antibes, courtesy of Almeida restaurant, 86 x 295 cm, 1995

Antibes by Pete Hoida

Uisghe, 121 x 288 cm, 2004

Uisghe by Pete Hoida

What I meant was steps within the painting itself, and these two Hoidas have done that in no uncertain measure. The virtue of horizontality is that it allows the spatial organisation of the painting to expand into the viewer’s vision directly , “clear, demarcated, out there, resistant to the eye”, without encouraging them to “see in”, look for illusionistic recession that isn’t there. Colour makes space directly in reciprocal,influence. That is all..

What is good about Hoida’s Antibes 1994 and Uiskhe, is that they generate a sense of natural light through colour juxtapositions without undermining the independent created unity of the whole image, quite a rare achievement in itself. They neither abstract from landscape nor move towards a depiction of landscape. I was suggesting that the ones Mel Gooding is talking about are less successful in that regard, partly because of the flashes of light against the darks.

Following on, something else that I’ve said before, but which also hasn’t “stuck”: when I talk about “more abstract” I don’t mean a “purer”, more desiccated formalism, but the opposite: a fuller, richer experience, and “more of it”. That’s why I think complexity is an important part of the mix, and why one might need to look to get it into the work early in order to sustain it through to synthesis..

Pete’s “Antibes” looks to me to be, as Alan suggests, a better painting than the “horizontals” shown on the film with Mel Gooding, and what Alan says about the colour and light may well be a factor. But for me it is also better because it has more complex things going on that relate to one another in more particular ways, rather than just the side-by-side horizontal bands in the more recent paintings. Plus, there appears to be more spatial layering and “halo-ing” around the slabs and blocks of colour. Altogether “more”, though it still is a rather orthogonally organised picture, which may perhaps be a way out of structuring a painting in a more complex, more specific (more abstract?) way. Just saying.

comments taken from ABCRIT