Frances Hodgkins is one of New Zealand’s most significant artists. She gained a considerable reputation in Europe, especially England during her lifetime as both a New Zealand artist and a woman of her generation. She left New Zealand permanently in 1906 for Britain where she became a recognised participant in an emerging modernist art scene. Consequently, her practice evolved in relation to developments in French art and to that of her British peers.
Hodgkin’s approach to abstracting the landscape was to practice as an en plein-air artist and then to radically transform her images in the studio by weaving over the picture surface a sensuous, eccentric pictorial calligraphy. Her work remained representational and the objects and sites afford valuable evidence of an artist responding to her circumstances (wartime England) and her cultural inheritance (the history of British landscape painting).
Kimmeridge foreshore is an important example of Hodgkins’s late paintings. The landscape motif is abstracted so that the specific location and scene depicted is replaced with elements and areas of colour expressing a sensibility for place. The cottage in the centre of Kimmeridge foreshore acts as a vortex, radically reversing the void in the centre of traditional landscape painting and encouraging a direct relationship with the viewer.