Hockney heaven

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I have always been a fan of David Hockney`s work , starting when I was an art student, when I saw various exhibitions such as Hockney paints the Stage , and Paper Pools. The man himself is an iconic as his work.

It is hard not to love his work. It is easy to understand and react to. There are no secrets and no hidden agendas.

Hockney obviously likes what he does. He rushes out into the woods and sketches and takes pictures, sometimes even from his car, and he comes back and blows up the work to a size he is comfortable with. His subject matter is varied; from his earlier famous swimming pool scenes in the hills above Los Angeles, to the woods near his childhood home in Yorkshire, to hundreds and hundreds of portraits that are fascinating to look at. Earlier in his career he painted his parents in poses that gave clues to their lifestyles.

He is fascinated by the different ways people sit down in chairs when they pose for him. His mission seems to be to show what he sees and then paints to those of us with less acuity.  Looking at what he sees and then records is a thrill. He is not speaking to us in riddles or hidden meanings, but laying it all out there for us to see and enjoy, and doing it with a well-honed sense of humour or playfulness. I’m not saying he isn’t deep and thoughtful; but you don’t come away from this show with a feeling you didn’t get it.

This exhibition at the Tate ( on until May 29th) ,which I visited yesterday in its opening hour, gathers together an extensive selection of David Hockney`s most famous works celebrating his achievements in painting, drawing, print, photography and video across six decades.

As he approaches his 80th birthday, Hockney continues to change his style and ways of working ,embracing new technologies as he goes. From his portraits and images of Los Angeles swimming pools, through to his drawings and photography, Yorkshire landscapes and most recent paintings – some of which have never been seen before in public  –  this exhibition shows how the roots of each new direction lay in the work that came before. It is once-in-a-lifetime chance to see these unforgettable works together.

I still love his swimming pool paintings, so evocative of Cailifornia in the 1960s, the colours the style the paint techniques -all so very good. His early art school work was interesting and quite graphic design-y in content and full of symbolism, a bit Jasper Johns…but I am not as keen. I am not mad on the I pad works ,although the colours were fabulous. Having had a proper art school training, I am picky about proper drawing.. but he can draw beautifully, and that to me is the foundation of all good art. It makes you look at something/someone for a start. His drawings in crayon and pencil of both swimming pools and portraits , such as those of his mother and Andy Warhol were brilliant.

I loved his video installations of Woldgate woods in Yorkshire, taken during four different times of the year. Moving pictures from nine different cameras driving through the woods. The winter scene was beyond stunning. mesmerising.

And my most favourite painting of all?

The fabulous Garden with Blue Terrace done in 2015.

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Feast Norfolk

The February issue of Feast Norfolk magazine is just out , so do take a peep at my foodie column Famous Five…

 

 

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Pom poms and earrings

Back from the Caribbean and it`s grey, grey, damp and  grey… so, what better way to cheer myself up than buying a few summery items to remind myself that sunnier days lie ahead.

Firstly, a pair of gorgeous Disco Volante gold earrings from India Hicks. I spied them on Instagram, checked the website, and found that they do not as yet ship to the UK. But Renee Peters one of India`s sale team , who lives in the Bahamas, very kindly sorted the whole thing for me, having the earrings shipped to her first, then on to me. If I want something…. anyway I LOVE them!

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http://www.indiahicks.com/rep/reneepeters

https://www.indiahicks.com/rep/india/shopping/productdetail?id=17121-01&CategoryId=32&CategoryName=Jewelry

Next, again seen on Instagram ,(such a great source of ideas and inspiration), from Barefoot Living ,in Burnham Market, two lovely whispy cotton scarves , one in pale grey and one in white, both edged in brightly coloured pom-poms. Lovely for summer. If you are interested in buying one, I`d be quick, as they will be snapped up in no time!

http://barefoot-living.co.uk/

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Lily and Lionel

A girl can never have too many scarves! There is cool leopard print and there is tacky leopard print, and in the case of this very much in fashion at the moment look, I think less is definitely much, much more!

I love the cashmere, silk and wool scarves from the fab, Lily and Lionel. I buy them online and have just bought this gorgeous leopard print,huge scarf in a stylish colour combination of scarlet , black and aubergine. I love it!

http://lilyandlionel.com/

 

 

 

 

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What a card

I couldn`t  resist buying these fabulous colours of the rainbow playing cards by Fredericks and Mae. Perfect for a stocking filler for Christmas , especially for anyone with an eye for colour, as they are printed in the whole colour spectrum ;reminiscent of a paint or pantone colour chart. Love them!

Available from Amazon or Foyles.

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Wowie Bowie

As a huge David Bowie fan in my teenage years, the man , his music and his style, have always remained a source of fascination to me.

My son Tom ,who works in the Contemporary Art Department in Sotheby`s, has been involved in the last few months, and more intensely in the last two weeks, in the sale of David Bowies own art collection-Bowie Collector, and all that it entails-the dinners, the lectures, the parties, the Private Views, and now this amazing sale of eclectic artworks; paintings, furniture and ceramics from the revolutionary Memphis group, has captured the imagination of art lovers and David Bowie fans alike.

David understood the power of the image better than any musician who ever lived, and of course when I look back, I think it is this that I loved most about him. The visual impact of his constant re-invention, was both new and exciting, and at the time quite ground breaking. I did, and still do, love his music as well, of course!

Ideas often arrive in pictures to us, and more and more it`s the visual image that inspires love, hate ..a reaction.

 “Art was, seriously, the only thing I`d ever wanted to own. It has always been for me a stable nourishment. I use it. It can change the way I feel in the mornings. The same work can change me in different ways, depending on what I`m going through.”

Yesterday we visited the pre-sale ( to be held 10th and 11th November), exhibition at the Sothebys galleries in Bond Street. Oh Wow again!

He worked with several curators who helped him to look at, and seek out art to buy, and it has been fascinating to me to listen to the interviews online with these experts who inspired, and were inspired by his passion and the world of modern art that he elected to enter.

The art is exhibited in several different rooms, with different lighting, Bowie music playing, and large black and white images of Bowie blown up and mounted on the walls, which adds to the whole experience.

There are so many pieces that I covet. The Damien Hirst Spin paintings, one of which he did with David in 1995, the Ivon Hitchens abstracts, the gorgeous Peter Lanyon  Travalgon painting ( and I usually do not like green ), the fabulous St Ives Harbour by Winifred Nicholson, and the striking Caulfield.

What I found most poignant ,was the quote from Bowie about the painting Head of Gerda Boehm by Frank Auerbach . It is a typical Auerbach slightly tortured picture, painted in 1965, and to me could portray either agony or ecstasy or even serenity.

David Bowie said, ” I wish I could sing how this picture is painted”.

I will be glued to the Sothebys website on Thursday at 7pm to watch the auction of first 47 lots live. And I predict HUGE prices, from those who not only love great art, can afford the amazing amounts of money, but wish to have a part of the icon that is David Bowies life.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p04g02p7

 

http://www.sothebys.com/en/news-video/videos/2016/10/how-bowies-fascination-with-art-became-a-full-time-job.html

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What a load of Pollocks

I was really excited about visiting the Royal Academy (one of my most favourite places), to see this Autumn`s exhibition of Abstract Expressionism, that is on until January 2nd 2017. This long-awaited exhibition reveals the full breadth of a movement that will be forever associated with the boundless creative energy of 1950s New York.

WOW! That is all I can say. When I walked into the room where there were amazingly huge paintings by Jackson Pollock on all four walls, it just took my breath away. I have swooned over Pollocks before at the Guggenheim in Venice, but I don`t think that I have ever been so thrilled to see so many wonderful pieces of art in one space. The Rothkos were both a thing of beauty and dark .. I wanted every one of the Franz Klines , Clifford Stills and Willem de Koonings, and I really loved the work by Robert Motherwell that he did in East Hampton-an artist that I am not so familiar with.

In the “age of anxiety” surrounding the Second World War and the years of free jazz and Beat poetry, artists like Pollock, Rothko and de Kooning broke from accepted conventions to unleash a new confidence in painting. Abstract Expressionism was born from the common experience of artists living in 1940s New York. Two World Wars, the Great Depression, atomic devastation and an ensuing Cold War prompted early works reflecting the darkness of these times, and fed into the movement’s concerns with contemplation, expression and freedom.

 Scale is a trademark of Abstract Expressionism. Abstract Expressionist art invites artist and viewer to meet.-, and it is this scale that I love. The huge almost `ikat` in design paintings by Clifford Still were stunning. Even my artist husband who a week ago had declared that Clifford Still `s paintings were `great big splodges of nothing`, conceded that they were magnificent!

 While the artist expresses their emotions and conveys a sense of their presence in the work, the viewer’s perception is the final component in the mix. Abstract painting “confronts you”, Pollock said in 1950. And the intensity of how you encounter the work, can be heightened by the way the work is lit and displayed.

Often monumental in scale, their works are at times intense, spontaneous and deeply expressive. At others they are more contemplative, presenting large fields of colour that border on the sublime. These radical creations redefined the nature of painting, and were intended not simply to be admired from a distance but as two-way encounters between artist and viewer.

It was a watershed moment in the evolution of 20th-century art, yet, remarkably, there has been no major survey of the movement since 1959.

The Royal Academy has brought together some of the most celebrated art of the past century, offering the chance to experience the powerful collective impact of Pollock, Rothko, Still, de Kooning, Newman, Kline, Smith, Guston and Gorky as their works dominate their galleries with their scale and vitality.

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