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.