Measuring out the year in Hockney’s

January 30, 2012 § 1 Comment

Let’s get the business out of the way first. For those of you still with this saga, my operation is on February 8th. Soon, I know. I’ll probably be in hospital for about a week. According to the nurse at my pre-op meeting, it’s pretty dependent on drains, something about needing to be draining at less than 30mm a day before they will let you out. And I’ll have four of them.

In the meantime, this morning I went to see the ‘David Hockney: A Bigger Picture,’ at the Royal Academy. I had planned to go with a friend of my mother’s who is a Friend of the RA. Unfortunately, her husband was unwell, so I went alone, but thanks to her for the ticket because the queue was huge.

Here, in the style to which you are now accustomed, are some unrelated thoughts.

1. The RA is not doing well in terms of attracting a culturally diverse group of visitors. The air was heavy with a sense of entitlement, people complaining because although they had arrived before the gallery actually opened, they had to wait. “But we have tickets.” On the other hand, it was completely packed out so I can only assume the RA knows exactly what it’s doing.

2. On the way to the RA, I walked passed the National Gallery, where the queue for the Leonardo da Vinci exhibition stretched the length of Trafalger Square. Word in the RA queue was that people are arriving at the National Gallery at 4am in order to get one of the few on the door tickets. The line at the Royal Academy was none to shabby either. I’m not sure what I make of all this. Art as the new stand up comedy as the new rock and roll. I suppose it’s good, except that the only people who have time and money to give to all this queuing and waiting are the relatively wealthy retired and the formally sick who are spinning it out.

3. As you probably know and in the words of the RA, “‘David Hockney: A Bigger Picture’ spans a 50 year period to demonstrate Hockney’s long exploration and fascination with the depiction of landscape.” There are loads of pictures; I mean really, a lot, and many of the same view but painted at different times of the year. The countryside of East Yorkshire and particularly, Woldgate Wood, feature heavily.

Woldgate Woods, 6 & 9 November, 2006

Woldgate Woods, 21, 23 & 29 November, 2006

Woldgate Woods, 4, 5 & 6 December, 2006

 

Woldgate Woods, May 16 & 17, 2006

This kind of thing. When you see this on a large scale, with many, many versions, it’s kind of impressive.

It’s also optimistic. Can paintings be optimistic? (The show includes paintings, but also film and prints from pictures made on an ipad.) Initially, the colours and size of the pictures are cheering. Then there is something about being the scale of the pictures that makes you feel like you want to get out and be in nature. I’m not a regular tramper through the fields but perhaps because, one way or another, I’ve been shut up for most of the winter, there was something very appealing about Hockey’s multicoloured woods and landscapes. Even I feel like a nice walk in the countryside wouldn’t go amiss. Maybe there is also a sense of health and vigor in these works, to do with the colours and their boldness that is appealing. I’ll take a bit of that please.

The Road across the Wolds, 1997

And then I find something hopeful in returning again and again to the same place, painting, drawing or filming it at all times of the year (the films are great, by the way). One of the things I’m finding challenging at the moment is having faith in the future. I know from speaking with other women who’ve been through this breast cancer malarky that this is pretty standard. Looking at Woldgate Woods or Three Trees near Thixendale through the seasons is encouraging. It’s nice to see the year chopped up like this. It reminded me to use the seasons to measure time and progress, that it’s ok to divide up the year like this and that a spring, a summer, an autumn and a winter will make up a whole year.

 

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§ One Response to Measuring out the year in Hockney’s

  • Chris says:

    Interesting … I think we live urban lives and dream of rural dreams. In the past we lived rural lives and dreamed urban dreams …. Back in the pre Thatcher world (many many years ago) the unemployed had free or virtually no cost admission to cultural centers. I benefited enormously from it. You could show your UB40 and bingo – Opera, Theater, Art. Very socialist. Imagine if all those poorer people could actually share the dream.

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