The intense, visual pleasure of David Hockney's art

Wednesday 21 March 2012
zoocha-admin

“If I inspire a greater awareness of nature and the seasons, get people to observe it a little more, isn’t that a good thing?”  Yes, Mr Hockney, it’s a very good thing and you do it in a brilliantly colourful and exuberant way in the feast for the senses that is ‘A Bigger Picture’ exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts in London.  I’d heard so much about this event that I was rather concerned it wouldn’t live up to the hype.  Well, it did – and how …

David Hockney - Royal Academy

People watching in art galleries can often tell you more about the work on display than any press release.  And here was engagement writ large in every gallery.  An amazed smile at the four seasons of Thixendale Tree, gentle amusement at Flight Into Italy – Swiss Landscape, a quizzical glance at Pearblossom Highway from the back of the room,  glasses peered through for a closer scrutiny of A Closer Winter Tunnel, a business-suited gent adjusting his headphones to hear the story of Silver Salts Mill, an uber-chic French women expressively gesticulating to her companion in front of many versions of The Sermon on the Mount, a school teacher with bright red hair and her gaggle of excited kids crowding round the purple road and blue trees of Winter Timber 2009, an elderly American couple simply smiling at all this joyous artistic outpouring …

The Road Across the Wolds The Road Across the Wolds - photo by Steve Oliver

 

And there, in front of a swirling, twirling, rainbowed The Road Across the Wolds  one primly buttoned-up, cardiganed, tweed-skirted, clasping-bag-across-the-chest lady saying to her husband, “It’s just not realistic” and he looking at her in despair and walking off … This is the first major exhibition in the UK to showcase David Hockney’s landscape work and if you do get the chance to visit before it closes on April 9th – GO see.  As well the glorious paintings of the Yorkshire countryside, there are earlier works which trace the artist’s journey literally and artistically from art college in Yorkshire in 1956 via California to his return home.  With over 150 works on display it takes a long time to get round, especially as you may well want to spend time lingering over the huge canvases or scrutinising the theatrical journey of the seasons along one small country lane in 50+ iPad drawings (amazing what he achieves in this new medium) and enormous 32-canvas painting that is The Arrival of Spring in Woldgate, East Yorkshire in 2011 (twenty eleven). 

The Arrival of Spring in Woldgate East Yorkshire The Arrival of Spring in Woldgate East Yorkshire - photo by Jonathan Wilkinson

 

Then there are the quirky films. Using 18 cameras shown over nine screens David Hockney shows just how innovative he is.  Watch summer sunshine juxtaposed beside snowy winter, Queen Anne’s Lace wafting gently in the breeze followed by the vivid orange leaves of autumn – all shown in peaceful silence.  Looking round at the smiling absorption on the faces lit by the screen is enough argument for anyone who doubts the value of art to the human psyche.  When the light-hearted scenes shot at the Royal Ballet finished, the audience clapped … Do try to get to the Royal Academy before April 9th - and if you can't, this quirkilicious exhibition will be moving on to the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain 14 May - 30 September, 2012 and then the Museum Ludwig in Cologne, Germany 29 October 2012 - 4 February, 2013. David Hockney describes the blossoming of Hawthorn as 'an intense visual pleasure' - that's a perfect way to describe his art.

Winter Timber 2009 Winter Timber 2009 - photo by Jonathan Wilkinson

 

 

 

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