It’s appropriate that Tate Britain is currently staging its biggest ever exhibition in celebration of David Hockney, since ‘bigness’ has been a recurring theme of Hockney’s career. The title of arguably Hockney’s most famous work, focussing on a colossal spume of water climbing into the air after an unseen figure has dived into an LA swimming pool, was called was A Bigger Splash.
His works are often physically big, such as the pictures formed from multiple canvasses, like billboards, that stood as much as fifteen metres wide in his 2012 exhibition A Bigger Picture (see Woldgate Woods, 6 & 9 November below).
Above all, big describes Hockney’s ambition. He may be best known for his brilliantly bright 1960s works that painted the perfect blue skies and perfect lives he observed on moving to California but this exhibition shows him as a restless explorer of techniques and styles, and even in his California work he shows an endlessly inventive spirit in seeking out new ways to represent the movement and reflections of water – compare Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) from 1972 [at the top of this blog] with the later Peter Getting Out of Nick’s Pool [below] from 1996).
Hockney is an artist who has frequently changed his style and ways of working, embracing new technologies as he goes. In recent years he famously embraced the iPad as a sketchbook and now carries it everywhere in the internal pocket his tailor now sews into all his suits. One thing about the iPad that delights Hockney is that it gives him the ability to review his own drawing process. At the tap of a finger he can rewind a completed drawing to the original blank page, then ‘play back’ what he has done, watching as lines and washes appear one after another, apparently of their own accord. “Picasso would have gone mad with this,” he says. “So would Van Gogh”.
Model with Unfinished Self-Portrait 1977
We admire Hockney’s big ambition, big ideas and his embrace of big developments in technology because those are the things we want to bring to our clients LAW Creative.
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