David Hockney’s most famous paintings of Los Angeles, such as A Bigger Splash (1967), depict a commonplace aspect of the city: private swimming pools. This is the final and the largest of three versions on the same theme, all based on an image that the artist found in a book about home pools. Hockney took care to keep the backdrop as flat — almost abstract — as possible, using rollers to apply the acrylic of the azure sky. The splash, in contrast, meticulously rendered with small brushes, took the artist nearly two weeks to finish. “I loved the idea of painting this thing which lasts for two seconds,” he said. “The painting took much longer to make than the splash existed for.” The result is one of the most iconic depictions of a certain upscale California lifestyle; aspirational, and perhaps more Hollywood make-believe than real.
Photographed as Part of the David Hockney Career Retrospective, on view at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC Through February 25th, 2018.
When I was a small child, growing up in southern California, my parents used to take the family on camping vacations to Yosemite National Park. I probably went there four or five times up to the age of 8 or so. While these vacations are many decades in the past for me now, my very vivid memories of the park and its many tall and fragrant redwood trees, crystal clear shallow streams, majestic mountains, tumbling waterfalls, and other uniquely beautiful natural sights and smells stay with me to this day. Yosemite is breathtaking.
British artist David Hockney must feel similarly, because he has created a new series of vivid iPad drawings featuring the wild landscape of Yosemite that you can see and enjoy now at Pace Gallery in Chelsea. When I stood in front of these uncomplicated yet profoundly compelling drawings, I felt like I was back in the park again. Everything looked so familiar to me.
You can almost smell the trees.
Happy Little Trees.
From the late 1800s through most of the 1960s, Yosemite used to have a summertime evening ritual in the park called the Firefall, where visitors could gather to watch a ball of fire get tossed off the side of the one of the mountains, Glacier Point: like a waterfall, only with fire. They stopped doing it because of the danger of a forest fire, and because it got too popular and folks were trampling the meadows to try and see it. It was pretty cool to experience in person though. I’ll never forget it.
David Hockney’s The Yosemite Suite will be on Exhibit Through June 18th, 2016 at PACE, Located at 537 West 24th Street in the Chelsea Gallery District.
David Hockney’s Large Interior, Los Angeles (1988) applies a cubist treatment of geometry to open up the interior of a large, modern, urban living space. In this painting, the conventional tunnel perspective of a regular image is expanded to give a fisheye panorama of the entire space.
The viewer’s attention is initially drawn to the central living area, but then begins to wander and explore; the fireplace, the kitchen, dining area, even an external deck and outdoor garden invites us toward it. The floor, furnishings, walls and all the contours of the ceiling faces are folded open but without loosing any dimension or becoming flat. Light pours through the skylights and exterior opening illuminating the main living area with bright vibrant colors.
Photographed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.