A candid reflection on the artistic career of Budd Hopkins reveals a style imbued with the emotional dynamism of the 1950’s, the cool sensibility of the 1960’s, and the linear geometricism of the 1970’s. Works from all points of his illustrious career are in the collection of thirty-two museums including the Guggenheim Museum, The Corcoran Gallery, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Whitney.
Hopkins’ oeuvre conveys a sense of uninhibited ‘harmony and life-like complexity’, an intensity that continues to dominate his work today. The multiplicity which exists in his canvases pay tremendous homage to Mondrian’s geometric canon, Rothko’s color and depth experiments, and the Abstract Expressionist’s unbridled emotional expressiveness.
It was during the early stages of Abstract Expressionism that Hopkins’ artistic career first took hold and he openly embraced the current aesthetic using equally charged brushstrokes, heavily applied paint, and massive canvases, just as his peers. Forging relationships with Franz Kline and Robert Motherwell, Hopkins received constructive criticism which helped shape his art form and develop his growing aesthetic.
By the mid-1960’s, Hopkins found a style to call his own, one in which angles and circles, blacks and whites, flatness and depth and color field and abstraction harmoniously exist. This unique style primarily developed from his response to Leger’s later hard-edged works, and also a general increased interest in collages. The collages provided Hopkins with “a method of concretizing the implicit geometries of Abstract Expressionism without sacrificing any of its energy” (Kingsley, 1972)
While the works from the 1960’s reveal a more static moment in time, the works from the 1970’s and 80’s reach far beyond a multi-dimensional atmosphere. Using variable color and shape arrangements, Hopkins created “layers” of multi-dimensional planes which transcend both time and movement. These works exemplify Hopkins’ ability to transcend movement on a two-dimensional plane, revealing a struggle for “time and attention” within one space.
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