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While Dannielle Hodson’s large-scale oil paintings teem with physiological details –
a grotesquely comic multitude of human and animal eyes, teeth and limbs – these figurative elements evolve out of a kind of primordial abstraction. Each work begins with a process of unplanned, almost automatic mark making, during which the artist is concerned not with creating imagery, but rather with channeling energy from the world outside the canvas onto its flat, bounded plane. Once enough pigment has been amassed, it starts to suggest motifs, in much the same way as certain clouds seem to mimic the shapes of Earthly objects, or shadows on the lunar surface summon up a “man in the moon”. (This subcortical characteristic of visual perception is known as pareidolia, and is intimately connected to the human fight or flight response). 

Aware of the embryonic faces pressing through her paint, Hodson works consciously towards bringing them into full being. This is a process that involves both embellishment and sublimation, creation and destruction, and one that tracks the artist’s shifting focus, stimuli and emotional state over the gestation period of a given canvas. The result is
a seething mass of pigment, in which the physical boundaries between one monstrous, cartoonish figure and another are destabilized, and any hierarchy between image and abstraction is replaced by a roiling, polymorphous field of paint. To look at these works is to be confronted by an excess of visual information, with nothing in the way of a central, anchoring motif, and they might best be understood as a topography to explore, and perhaps to lose (or indeed find) oneself in.


Informed by Mikhail Bakhtin’s theories of the ‘carnivalesque’, Hodson’s paintings present
a vision of suppressed libidinal energies let loose on the world, of distinctions between high and low upended, of the messy, democratizing, fundamentally human stuff of desire rising ineluctably to the surface. Recent explorations of the portrait genre, in which the visages of invented sitters are overburdened with an excess of mismatched facial features, cast doubt on the ability of the painted image to frame – and fix – the human subject. Instead, these works position the individual as something closer to a verb than a noun – a process of mutation and endless becoming.


  • 2023/2024 Royal College of Art,  MA Painting

  • 2019 - 2021 Turps Banana, studio painting programme

  • 2015 - 2017 Central Saint Martins, MA Fine Art

  • 2022 Derbyshire Award for Emerging Artists, London

  • 2016 Roy Pace Moving Image award, London

  • 2009 Koestler Awards. Royal Festival Hall, London.

  • 2009 Outside In, Pallant House Gallery, Chichester.

  • Apocalyptic Changes of State, BWG Gallery, London

  • Chicago Expo, Kravets Wehby, Chicago

  • Studio presentation, Kravets Wehby, New York 

  • Palimpsestic Impressions, Arusha Gallery, London


  • State of Play (solo presentation,) Ojiri Gallery London

  • Beyond the Gaze, Saatchi Gallery with Charlie Smith London

  • Two Imposters (solo presentation) Four You Gallery, online

  • Swamp Legends, Terrace Gallery, London

  • Combat Stress charity auction, Bankside Gallery, London

  • A triumph of Life, Four You Gallery, Paris


  • Outsider Art/Kindred Spirits, Harley Gallery, Nottinghamshire

  • Art on a Postcard, Soho Revue Gallery, London

  • Another Kind of Life (solo presentation,) Four You Gallery, Online

  • In the Eye of The Beholder, Four You Gallery, Online


  • Miniscule,  in association with Cross Lane Projects, Venice.

  • Face to Face, London contemporary Art Auction, Warsaw

  • Empire II, Oaxaca In Association with the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Oaxaca.

  • Miniscule, Cross Lane Projects, Kendal, UK


  • Empire II Tallinn Art Week in Association with Haus Gallery

  • Journeys: Outside In, Sotheby's London.

  • Bainbridge Open, ASC Gallery, London


  • Badenfahrt festival, Switzerland.

  • Empire II, Venice, Brussels, Berlin, Kendall.

  • An Art School, Tate Exchange, London

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