Patterns of growth and disintegration are the focus of Sam Hodge’s work with paint and print. Materials are constantly morphing, new forms emerging from simple physical processes such as erosion, compression, fracture and flow. Complex patterns repeated, but always different. Her natural science background and training as painting conservator have also given her an interest in our responses to the shifting and unstable nature of our material world; our attempts to understand, control, collect and invest matter with meaning.
Finding patterns in paint processes that echo those found in the natural world Sam Hodge interacts with the dynamic and generative properties of paint. Pouring it onto the canvas and tipping it so that rivulets erode the paint; pulling paint apart to create branching patterns of ridges or allowing the paint to pool and diffuse as it dries. She responds to the patterns that emerge by attempting to control, collect or embellish. The paintings and monotypes that result, often call to mind biological images, reminding us that living things emerge from similar material interactions. Paintings are not static, passive objects, but continue to change slowly throughout their lifetimes, something she has encouraged in some recent works by choosing pigment mixtures that will fade or change colour over time.
Sam Hodge is also drawn to human-made objects that have been transformed by processes of accident and weathering. She collects specimens of this (un)natural history from the coastal strand-line, city roads, jacket pockets or the studio floor. Things eroded, smashed or squashed flat, which she then translates into print using a mixture of drawing, photographic processes and direct impressions into the plate. These etched and pressed traces create ambiguous images, resembling biological and geological forms and reminding us of our material connections and entanglements.
Now living in East London and working from a studio at Chisenhale and at East London Printmakers, Sam Hodge was born and bought up on the Kent coast. She is now engaged in a project to walk around the whole coastline of England and Wales, which she is documenting on Instagram. The area where land and sea meet is a fruitful source of both inspiration and found objects for her. It is an edge, a border or skin of the country, what defines it, but also a porous site of exchange and flow, a place constantly in flux, changing from tide to tide and shifting over years. It is a place where human efforts to build, control and defend, but also the power of water and weather to transform are both very apparent.