The two references were Art Ventilator, Issue # 1, September 1994 and the illusive self-published, ring bound, Robert Hodgins monograph published in 1996. Hodgins selected 'A Distant Connection' and four other works to illustrate a three page interview conducted with his dear friend Ivor Powell for Art Ventilator. The painting selected for the full page illustration at the beginning of the interview was 'Darkness Falls From the Air', which was also used to illustrate the exhibition poster published by the Goodman Gallery. The interview titled At the Scene of the Crime makes for essential reading for anyone interested in the deeper implications behind Hodgins' choice and use of imagery. Two quotes by Hodgins taken from this interview sum it up for me:
"One thing one has always done is fought against middle-class loftiness...that all human nature is fundamentally evil and what can you do about it."
"I’ve been working with businessmen in suits. Now what are those suits? Are they protection, are they coats of armour, are they camouflage, are they sexual devices to show they’re successful? What are those suits really."
Having read this interview several times it has always been amusing, even after all these years, to see who ends up vying after these particular businessman
paintings and where they are positioned in the homes or offices of collectors (almost always men as it happens). Of course many of these collectors are the last to realise that the status symbol they have paid so much for, is actually a parody of everything they hold dear, when thinking in terms of ego, status and power. This is what is meant by the artist with the loaded brush, for what you think you see and what is actually there are two different things entirely in Hodgins’s universe, which often retains a marvellous sense of humour, sometimes bordering on the sardonic.
In 1996 Hodgins collaborated with Sue Glanville of The Project Room to make a 32 page ring-bound book simply titled 'Robert Hodgins', illustrating what the artist considered at the time, to be 20 of his best paintings. The selection was made by Hodgins across a 12 year period from the time of his retirement in 1984. Again 'A Distant Connection' is illustrated, this time across a full page in colour, with the following quote by Hodgins referring to the work:
"I would like to pursue this open door idea...the idea of the door that opens into...what? Hell. Heaven. Nothing. Space. Negation. I very much want to pursue the notion of something absurd to the point of being slightly threatening happening into a picture that is otherwise fairly explicable."