Saturday, 28 January 2012

A Bigger Picture

This David Hockney (RA) exhibition that recently opened at the Royal Academy focuses on the artists landscape work, primarily paintings of the countryside in his native Yorkshire. I like Hockney's use of strong colour to depict and sometimes exaggerate the difference between surfaces and changing seasons within the settings in his work. This exaggeration by this famous Royal Academician reminds me of some of the Fauvist paintings.

An example of this use of contrasting colours is in Winter Timber (2009). The bottom picture here shows Hockney working on the painting. As it includes him at work it is not surprising that this photo is used on the cover of the Gallery Guide for the exhibition.

Despite this I find his photocollages, such as Pearblossom Highway, 11-18 April 1986, No.1 (1st picture below), more interesting. This and two other artworks in Room 3 are made up of many individual photographs of slightly different sections of the landscape taken from the same standpoint and put together to recreate the scene.

Pearblossom Highway, 11-18 April 1986, No.1
(Photocollage. 119.4 x 163.8cm. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles.)

As is the case with Winter Timber, A Closer Winter Tunnel, February - March, 2006 (below) is spread over several canvases, six in this case. Just like with the photocollages, I like it when these parts can both make a whole or perhaps could also work as individual artworks in their own right (if the canvases were hung seperately)? As is the case with these three works, Hockney's paintings in this show often have paths or roads in them that lead off into the distance and disappear on the horizon or off the edge of the painting. I like this use of perspective in the composition and it sometimes makes me wonder where they are leading.

A Closer Winter Tunnel, February - March, 2006
(Oil on 6 canvases, each 91.4 x 121.9cm. Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney.)

Winter Timber (2009)

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