You won’t need 3D glasses, but you’ll feel like you have them on. The London Times calls his work: “An unqualified, life-enhancing joy…” I went to see this exhibit twice, actually 3X, because I could not quite fathom the effect the paintings had on my mind and heart. I really liked this selection of artwork.
Part of it is scale and short-hand details, though neither scale nor detail comes across well in these small photos I am posting. I’d look at a ten-canvas landscape, and as I walked closer, the realism shifted into elegant abstractions representing light, shadows, water and plants. His work carries a certainty that makes you feel safe in his created world of form and color. And yet you have fallen down the rabbit hole into Wonderland at the same time. David Hockney has invented a painting language that effects me the way Arabic does.
What do I mean? First of all, Arabic is seductively beautiful to see, the calligraphy flows. Then when you study the individual letters a new layer upon layer of visual integrity draws you in. In different scripts the letters appear as if in new clothing. So here is Hockney pulling me into his universe with his mastery and whimsey, his language of brush-dancing. The portraits carried so much of human nature I was astounded. But mainly it was the landscapes that I relished.
I’m his— in those lighted rooms. I went with Wendy and David the first time. We were amazed, and after about 20 minutes I was too full — and bolted out of the exhibit. I went outside and gazed at grass and sky while they continued looking at art. I went back to look again when my vision quieted down, and snuck a few photos because I needed proof I had actually seen these things.
Asha was in town from Virginia a week later. She is a wonderful artist, and I couldn’t wait to see Hockney’s art with her. She liked it a lot. We went and sat in a quiet room. The one with Yosemite pictures, a smaller scale. What do you feel is going on with these paintings? I asked her. She commented on his I-pad drawings, [some enlarged and mounted like the oils], and how he was balanced on the edge of present and future in art. Also that he communicated more than artistic mastery. I can’t remember exactly what she said, but I felt like she helped me to digest this banquet-for- the-eyes. If you are near San Francisco between now and January 20 and you like this preview, make it a point to go.