Monday, 6 February 2012

First Impressions?

“This is so joyous, it makes my heart sing” this was the first comment I overheard as I walked into the first of the thirteen galleries displaying David Hockney’s seasonal paintings. It was not the last complement I eavesdropped into either. Praise was splattered left, right and centre. And it was so easy to understand why.
One is immediately confronted with a painting composed of sixty canvases exploding a colour palette of red, orange, yellow and purple in Hockney’s A Closer Grand Canyon, 1998, which was an introduction to the exhibition.

Then it came to the showstoppers; Hockney’s Yorkshire paintings. Similarly to the landscape paintings of Claude Monet, Henri Rousseau and the realist painter Gustave Courbet, Hockney has painted like a master. Double East Yorkshire, renders the canvas with hypnotic swirls of overlapping tones of green creating a fierce and enchanting picture that can leave anyone dreaming of a cozy, wild country walk. This notion of mesmerising landscape is familiar to many of his paintings in this exhibition with undulating quiet lanes, which are all a leap away from Hockney’s Californian, poolside paintings.

Moreover, among artists today Hockney holds a unique position. In the 1960s he was the frontrunner of British Pop Art that had a sensibility of being cool and kinetic. Now, he has taken art to a new canvas. He has used an array of mediums ranging from the tradition oil on canvas, charcoal sketching, photocollage, watercolour, film to drawings on i-pads. The Arrival of Spring gave me time to breathe from Hockney’s abstractness in the previous galleries, with mystic and mellow ipad printed paintings. However, I preferred to witness Hockney’s dabbing and flicking of the paintbrush and following the slick strokes that have been eliminated with this modern technique.

The first two months of Hockney’s exhibition have sold out and those who want it see it should embrace the lingering queues. 

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