The Contemporary Arts Museum Houston presents work by Houston-based artist Robert Hodge. A musician and visual artist, Hodge has been involved in the city's art scene since the late 1990s. His practice has expanded to include site-specific sculpture that provides communities with a place to gather and interact.
Robert Hodge: Destroy and Rebuild features 15 paintings from the past two years, more than half of which were created specifically for this presentation. It is the artist's first solo museum exhibition.
As a visual artist, Hodge has been in pursuit of the recovery of cultural and political icons that have been lost to a fast-paced and ever-changing society. Trained in printmaking, Hodge has used strategies employed by graphic designers to convey his messages to combat social and political amnesia. Over the past five years, the artist has literally taken the paper — billboards, posters, post bills — that clutters the streets of his neighborhood in Houston's historic Third Ward and has converted it into material for his own work. Hodge compresses this detritus into paintings that transform disparate aims into a cohesive message aimed at social recovery. His most recent body of work puts into direct confrontation representations of black people as rendered in the 18th, 19th and early 20th century with the self-determined and defined lyrics of late 20th and early 21st century hip hop.
By superimposing language upon these images, Hodge seeks to interrogate the image against the weight and backdrop of celebrated vernacular. The exhibition's title, Destroy and Rebuild, underscores more than just process and emerges as a metaphor for the destruction of archaic perceptions of blackness and the recovery of personal and communal value.