Monday, August 10, 2009

David Hockney - Return To Simplicity

'Andalucia. Courtyard, Seville' (2004) - Watercolor on paper 29.5 x 83

I've long been interested in David Hockney, as much for his being gay and out as for his art work - the paintings, etchings and photographs.

So I'd been wondering what he was doing in the new millennium and was happy to find this video of him chatting with art historian Robert Hughes about the ideas underlying some of his latest work.

The discussion focuses around work done in Andalucia in Spain in 2004 - in Cordoba, Seville and Granada.

Hockney says he's currently interested in certain simplicities, at least in one aspect of his production. As a technical program, there's no pencil under-drawing - just painting directly onto the canvas with 'as few brush strokes as possible' and a limited palette. Sometimes of only four colours. And he's exploring how to create space with only a few lines.

This links to an abandoning of his sometime use of photography as the intermediary between what he sees and a painting. He now feels that many things are 'unphotographable' - suggesting that with a camera you miss patterns apparent when painting or drawing directly from the subject, such as those made by the internal columns of the mosque in Cordoba ...

'Andalucia, Mosque, Cordova' (2004) - Oil on canvas, 136 x 48 in

... patterns you'd not be aware of working from a photograph back in the studio. A photographic image can make you more aware of what's at the edges and so direct the construction of a work with respect to this phenomenon.

'Andalucía Fuentes Córdoba' (2004)

Much the same could be said of work produced in Norway and Iceland in 2002 ...

'Tujfjord Nordkapp II, Norway' (2002) - Watercolor on paper, 36 x 72 in.

'Mountain and Cloud, Iceland' (2002) - Watercolor on paper, 18 x 48 in.

One thing is certain - Hockney never seems to run out of new things to explore and so continues inexorably to excite the art loving public - both professional and dilettante.

I'm in!


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