David Hockney RA: A Bigger Picture promises to be a crowd pleaser. Held at the Royal Academy of Arts in London (21 January – 9 April 2012), the exhibition takes you on a voyage to Hockney’s homeland Yorkshire, in a vivid palette of jewel colours, and will leave you feeling elated and positive. With over 150 works on show – many of which were created specifically for the exhibition – the exhibition is a thorough examination of Hockney’s landscape work, and includes video work and iPad drawings alongside the more traditional paintings.
Hockney’s emotional engagement with the landscape is clear as he examines the daily variations in light and weather conditions, cycles of growth and decay, and seasonal changes. The work reminds us why artists continue to reengage with nature.
Artfinder has collated a roundup of what people have been saying about David Hockney RA: A Bigger Picture, which has been dominating the review sections as of late.
Jeffery Taylor (Daily Express) on being blown away: “Just standing and staring at this exhibition takes your breath away [...] There is an architectural chunkiness to these sun-drenched plants, a sinister knowing air, a threatening but irresistible individuality.”
Tracey McVeigh (The Guardian) on cheering up Britain: “Amid competing efforts to cheer up Britain, the great pageants of the Olympics and the Queen’s diamond jubilee might just have to make way for a new, unlikely contender in the race to restore our elusive feelgood factor [...] Hockney has retained all his crowd-pleasing instincts. It was the artist who asked the gallery to hang his pictures a little higher to enable more people to see them clearly. Drawing from life with a clear, unabashed love of the landscape and seasons around him, Hockney has clearly pulled it off again, giving the British public the gift of a stand-and-stare moment.”
Roy Hattersley (The Telegraph) on Hockney’s Yorkshire: “The rest of Hockney’s Yorkshire work – iPad drawings no less than oil paintings – celebrate a land that looks like Arcadia. In Midsummer in East Yorkshire the blue sky is dappled with fluffy white clouds, the sheaves of wheat are ripening in the sun and a farm house is just visible between protective trees. It is the product of observation, not imagination [...] Hockney’s Yorkshire is a colourful county – not slag-heap grey but scarlet, cobalt, and emerald. At first I believed, or wanted to believe, that the colours were a metaphor, intended to emphasise that life in the East Riding is not as dull as the uninitiated believe. But a working woodman [...] put me right. He told me that “in the bright light of spring” all the Hockney colours illuminate the forest [...] Hockney has begun to rehabilitate Yorkshire’s rural reputation.”
Alanna Martinez (Art Info) on his materials: “The two paintings are examples of the way in which Hockney views his materials as interchangeable. He bounces back and forth between venerable oil painting and iPad renderings effortlessly, although his trees and grasses never loose their luster either way.”
Tom Jeffreys (Spoonfed) on making a mark: “The countryside is a collage, and the business of making a mark – be it with brush or plough – becomes one and the same, as Hockney aligns himself with the farmers of Yorkshire history [...] Alongside the open-air sketches, the studio paintings, the videos, the collages, they constitute a broad and complex response to the issue of what it is to make a mark in the world. The surfaces, both on screen and when printed onto paper, bring something new, and require a new way of looking – not only for Hockney, but for us too. We continue to change, and our landscape changes with us.”
Tabish Khan (Londonist) on the curation: “This immersion is made possible by the scale of some of his pieces and the fact that the largest gallery is covered in paintings from floor to ceiling – a room that you could spend hours in.”
Prospero (The Economist) sums up: “I was surprised to find the show revelatory, or at least mood altering. What a joyful assembly of works, irrepressible and glorious. The colours feel inspired (particularly his use of purple; the most powerful works tend to be the most lurid ones) and the scale uplifting. Mr Hockney’s use of the iPad does not merely feel innovative in a cheeky, gadgety way, as if we are merely applauding the novelty of an old dog learning a new e-trick. Rather, these works demonstrate Mr Hockney’s sure hand; his uniquely evocative scribble, and his arresting use of colour.”
When: 21 January – 9 April 2012
Where: Royal Academy of Arts, Burling House, Piccadilly, Lonon W1J 0BD
Tube: Piccadilly Circus, Green Park
Admission: £14 (£15.50 including Gift Aid donation), concessions £13, students £9, children free -£4. Tickets can be purchased in person from the box office each day from 10am.