Matthew Collings reviews Pete Hoida at deliART, in 'Modern Painters'

'Con Gusto' Pete Hoida, Recent Paintings' at deliART, London, January - February 2000

A Modest Ms by Pete Hoida
A Modest Ms, 1996, 55 x 122cm

"Then I was back in the McLean exhibition again, and this time Paul Tonkin came up and said there was an exhibition in the Delibar in Charterhouse Street I should see. It was paintings by Pete Hoida, someone I'd never heard of. Tonkin said he was good and I should go, so the next day I did because I took him seriously.

It turned out to be a coffee bar I'd been in earlier on that very day of the McLean opening, pitching an idea for a book to some publishers. I'd noticed the art and thought it was the abstract version of the paintings you often get in bars and restaurants. The figurative paintings are usually big-breasted, big-eyed, charcoally nudes; maybe with a flame-red Fez as a flash of colour or a bit of cobalt blue wine bottle. The abstract version is usually sweet coloured misty amorphous blob things. But I'd noticed that these paintings weren't bad. I just hadn't thought about it any more or bothered to look closer, because I was busy and it was only a coffee bar. If anything, I noticed there were a couple of characteristics that marked them out in a negative way for me; one was a type of mark made by squirting acrylic from a plastic container. The worms of paint seemed out of scale with the rest of the object. They made a gross effect. Another mark I automatically rejected was a kind of pat or dab of gel-thickened paint that seemed too much like cake mixture or at any rate something from cooking, something that just stood on the surface as if waiting to be spread out. .

Severn Beach Constable by Pete Hoida
Severn Beach Constable, 1999, 54 x 180cm

When I looked again today, I still rejected these marks, but now I was unsure what the reason was, if it was just a prejudice. The paint was applied in ways that got a lot out of a little. There was a great range of little effects, all of them pleasurable. The colours were odd and off, like suntan or baby blue or cream and yellow or speckled brown and yellow. But it wasn't horrible, but earthy and realistic, or realistic to the spirit of lyrical or lovely or moody feeling that everyone has had from the landscape at some time. The ethos or mood or proposition of the show seemed to be that nature and the visual world are good, and abstract swathes of paint can stand for this experience. I think it's a good idea and I look forward to when it comes around again as an art fashion."

Matthew Collings, Modern Painters, Spring 2000