30 March 2017

Hockney

Last Friday night we had tickets for the Hockney exhibition at Tate Britain. There was me, Shirley, Ian, Frances and Frances's boyfriend Stewart. Beforehand we enjoyed a great Indian meal at a restaurant on Vauxhall Bridge Road - "The Millbank Spice". Yummy and not too expensive for central London.

And then Mr David Hockney was waiting for us. Born in Yorkshire in  1937, he has spent sixty years creating art and is still doing it. The exhibition demonstrates the different phases Hockney has been through - forever evolving, finding new things to "say" through his artistry while sometimes pausing to explore favourite themes such as Californian swimming pools or little travelled lanes in the Yorkshire Wolds.
"Going Up Garrowby Hill" by David Hockney (2000)
I remember a BBC interview in which Hockney declared that throughout his career as an artist he had only ever "done" what he wanted to do. He wasn't a follower or a conscious mimic and nobody ever controlled him. He only accepted commissions that he felt enthusiastic about. Not many artists can honestly claim such independence and creative integrity after so many years of making art.

I loved it all - the pencil drawings, the use of crayon, the charcoal, the pastels, the swimming pools, the homo-eroticism, the faithful portraits of friends, the pop art, the acrylic perfection, the masterpiece that is "Going Up Garrowby Hill". the i-pad sketches, the photographic mosaics. You were looking at reflections of our post war world seen through the eyes of a fallible genius.

It's fascinating that well into his seventies Hockney became absorbed by The Yorkshire Wolds - a subtle rolling chalk landscape with which I am very familiar. The icing upon the exhibition's cake was arguably in the penultimate room where the four walls hosted banks of video screens upon which images moved gently - images of Woldgate Woods in the four seasons. It was hauntingly beautiful and somehow spiritually  therapeutic. 

Though a few of his finest pictures were missing, I felt that Tate Britain had done a brilliant job in showcasing David Hockney's work, providing more than enough evidence to confirm his greatness.

31 comments:

  1. I had not heard of this artist, so thank you for the introduction. He likes bright colours, it seems, which makes his pieces look very cheerful.

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    1. He has had so many phases that it would be impossible to pick a picture to encapsulate his artistic achievements. "Going Up Garrowby Hill" is not necessarily typical of his work. I just happen to admire it.

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    2. I had taken a look at his website before commenting, and saw quite a number of them that were brightly coloured as well. I should go back and try to find some of the others too.

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    3. In many of his phases bright colour has been important.

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  2. The art of true art is to follow one's own heart and instincts. It's obvious Hockney did just that.

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    1. I liked his simple arrogance - I always did what I wanted to do! We would all like work to be that way.

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  3. You can't miss an art exhibition. there's so much to learn and appreciate.

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    1. If you go with an open mind and a hunger to see.

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  4. I knew David back in the early 1970's, and I can add that he was/is also an extremely generous man.

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    1. I know you didn't write that to impress Cro but I am impressed!

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  5. I like Hockney's work, it is easy to appreciate. I remember watching a documentary about his Yorkshire Wolds period.

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    1. Yes, I saw that...it was fascinating. I love his paintings of Yorkshire.

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    2. Though raised in Bradford he painted very few Yorkshire landscapes until his late sixties/early seventies. The landscapes I saw last Friday were stunning when seen from a distance. Close up there was a surprising roughness with swift and confident strokes.

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  6. I can remember when he first became fashionable, with his portrait of Ozzie Clark, his wife and the cat, and the California swimming pools, which seemed to be featured in every magazine, and newspaper. His work was, and still is, a refreshing change.

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    1. He was often seen as an outsider but his Tate Britain exhibition is like a warm embrace. He's on the inside now.

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  7. I was introduced to Hockney's work in - can you believe it - a book with Laura Ashley interiors. That must have been around 1984. Ever since, I have kept him at the back of my mind, so to speak, and in recent years, he has come more to my attention again as his beautiful Yorkshire landscapes have been exhibited. Nowhere near enough for me to just go and see them, but maybe one day I'll get the chance!

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    1. There's a permanent Hockney exhibition at Saltaire near Bradford. You could get there with your sister next time you holiday in Ripon.

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  8. I love the bright, fun colors. I'll have to do an Internet search and check out more of his work.

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    1. The picture I chose to illustrate this post has a Mexican or Mediterranean feel about it.

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  9. I spent my first 21 years in the East Riding, my grandparents farmed on the Wolds. I remember the area being very dull and drab so I am constantly amazed that Hockney found such beauty and inspiration there. Glad you enjoyed the exhibition.

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    1. It is a subtle and ancient landscape. Perhaps if you returned and walked those lanes you would see it differently now Jenny. I spent the first eighteen years of my life in The East Riding and still go back there several times a year.

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  10. I have always loved David Hockney, I remember standing gazing at one ofhis paintings in the Brighton Museum.
    Good for him that he has done what he wanted, too many people are like sheep, afraid to leave the flock.
    Would have loved to be there.
    Briony

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    1. The exhibition runs until the end of May Crafty Lady. You live in the south east. Give yourself a treat but book tickets well in advance if you want a slot that is convenient to you.

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  11. Lucky you seeing Hockney last week. Thank you for the introducation - yes, that is the word I want -. Isn't that landscape just filled with sunshine! Now, put one of your pictures of Mr. Tod up to keep an eye on you, and get your brushes going on that landscape yourself. McGregor

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    1. I wouldn't wish to imitate Hockney but the exhibition was inspirational. I am looking forward to trying a few landscapes of my own.

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  12. It would be entertaining if you could put a colour photograph of that same view alongside the painting just to see how bizarre Hockney's eyesight is. I say that as someone who has never been into art and therefore cannot look at a simple blob of paint and see it as something mystical and wonderful.

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    1. In fact I tried to find that view on Google Streetview Derek but I never got there. If artists are trying to make their pictures look like photographs then they should use cameras instead of brushes and paint.

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    2. So why did you paint your fox to look so realistically like a fox, why not dab some red paint and other random colours on a canvas, with some eyes, and call it "Fox".

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    3. Touchez Monsieur Derek! You got me. Ha-ha-ha!

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  13. I actually thought of you when I saw some of those paintings and artworks set in Yorkshire. The video room of the forest scenes WAS very hypnotic.

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  14. When I was involved with Liverpool's Walker Art Gallery back in the 'Sixties Hockney's 'Peter Getting out of Nick's Pool' won the John Moore's Exhibition on one occasion. I was standing behind John Moore and Hugh Scrutton the then Director of the gallery when John Moore pronounced that Hockney would be one of the greatest artists of the century. My views (which, had I uttered them, would have been of no interest to anyone) did not coincide. It just shows you how wrong one can be. Not that long ago I revisited the gallery to see the Exhibition of winners of the Exhibition. Although my views of Hockney have changed my view of that particular paining had not.

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