Felice was born in New York and at the age of thirteen came to the UK, where she went to school in London and studied the piano at the Royal College of Music. She later returned to New York to study music and art at Cornell University. After graduating with a First Class degree, Felice moved back to London and became an Arts journalist for The Antique Collector Magazine, also writing various books on fine art, design and antiques. In the 1990s, however, Felice decided to focus on painting and sculpting and established a studio next to the river Thames - first in Richmond and, later, in central London. Since 2010, she has lived mainly in rural Dorset where her studio, and surrounding fields, hills and river, have inspired many large abstract works on canvas and paper.
Felice's first solo show was held in 2000 at Orleans House Gallery, where she launched her ‘River Series' of large electric blue canvases inspired by the work of Yves Klein and the American abstract expressionists. This was followed by another solo show in Richmond two years later. She has participated in many other exhibitions over the years both in England and the USA, culminating in her most recent solo show at Cricket Fine Art in London in 2017. She is currently preparing for three more exhibitions in Wales, London and Dorset during 2019-20.
Felice's use of vibrant colour and flowing, active lines permeate much of her work - from small, intimate paintings on paper, board and panel, to large scale canvases of over six feet square, sometimes paired together to highlight an ongoing theme. She uses acrylic, gouache, ink, watercolour, oil sticks and charcoal, usually combined in a single work and with the added dimension of collage (sourced from the ‘library' of painted scraps of paper which she has created over the years). There is always an energy and movement in the painted surfaces, reminiscent of her music background and the dynamics of pronounced rhythm.
Whether landscape, still life or a combination of the two - it is up to the viewer to determine the subject matter and to absorb the atmosphere and mood in an individual, personal way. The titles are deliberately kept simple and unobtrusive, often focusing on a single colour to allow the observer to drift into the picture without the constraints of a defined subject. The essential nature of these paintings is their freedom to explore a variety of themes and to inspire further thought based on one's own imagination and recollections.
In the catalogue accompanying Felice's 2017 solo show IMAGINED SPACES at Cricket Fine Art in London, Robert Upstone wrote:
“Trying to describe Felice Hodges' wonderful paintings with accuracy can be difficult because - like the truest art - they transcend the harsh rigidities and conformities of language. She makes paintings that may first appear wholly abstract and gestural in expression but, on continued looking, are generally rooted in a specific place or moment which their titles and forms gradually reveal. They hover between abstraction and some mysterious, transformed poetic reality that the viewer becomes immediately caught up in and a part of, and the viewer becomes part of an interaction or dialogue with the picture itself. The evocative mood and atmosphere of these paintings is often suggested by subtle, ravishing harmonies of colour. Tones and colours are laid next to, or over each other, to create highly original and unexpected chromatic combinations which are also intensely beautiful. These have a direct effect on the viewer's emotions.
I am reminded of another American resident of Chelsea, James McNeil Whistler, who gave musical titles to his paintings - Nocturne, Harmony, Arrangement - and which suppressed narrative in favour of evoking in his viewers delicate yet penetrating emotional states. They were the very first beginnings of abstract art in Britain. In her wonderful new exhibition Felice Hodges demonstrates the continued relevance and resonance of such an expressive approach to painting and perception, and it is one that enriches all who see it”.