If you are culturally voracious then it’s highly likely you will have seen this exhibition already, but for those who missed it and for those who don’t object to reminiscing about it here is our review of ‘David Hockney RA: A Bigger
David Hockney is one of the most important British artists both of the twentieth century and currently, what with his ease in creating artwork using unlikely artistic tools such as the iPhone and iPad. The show included one or two rooms that focused on his past work, such as the paintings ‘Bolton Junction, Eccleshill’ (1956) and ‘Flight into Italy – Swiss Landscape’ (1962), as well as the photo-collage ‘Pearblossom Hwy., 11-18th April 1986 no. 2’ (1986).
This was in no way a retrospective as was made abundantly clear when I walked into the first gallery space and saw four canvases that depicted the same scene in Thixendale, but over the course of the four seasons. Hockney after decades spent capturing the heat and light of Los Angeles had re-connected with his Yorkshire roots and the artistic opportunities that the region offered him.
I had seen posters for the exhibition all around London and the image that was featured was the oil painting ‘Winter Timber’ (2009). This was a gigantic work, encompassing 15 canvases placed together and featuring vivid, psychedelic colours. This palette was in no way the exception in fact it was the norm, which is unsurprising if you have seen Hockney’s previous works, e.g. ‘A bigger Grand Canyon’ (1998). The size and format of the works varied. There was a slew of small watercolours collated together, various charcoal preparatory sketches, 51 iPad reproductions (albeit increased in size) decorating the largest gallery space, and a room with several iPhones displaying Hockney’s use of the Brushes software application.
I would be neglecting my duties if I didn’t mention the films he had made that also captured scenes of the Yorkshire Wolds, although using 9 separate high definition cameras to provide a larger picture. The picture quality was crystal clear and I, and those sitting near me, found the slow tracking shots pleasantly hypnotic.
The viewer is entranced by Hockney’s use of colour and the way he teased out variety, despite focusing often on the same scene. If you are cursing yourself for missing out don’t worry, you can always catch it next time it’s on tour.