Monday, October 14, 2013

David Hockney: Early Reflections

David Hockney is considered to be one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. This new exhibition brings together a unique selection of paintings and prints, which chart the early development of this iconic British artist.

Featuring work from the Walker’s own collection, including Peter Getting out of Nick's Pool|, which won the John Moores Painting Prize| in 1967, together with key pieces from the Arts Council Collection and other loans, the exhibition explores Hockney’s early influences.

With almost 40 pieces on display, dating between 1960 to 1978, the exhibition is an insight into Hockney’s prodigious talent which was evident even as a student.

Through recurring obsessions such as the evolving references to his own homosexuality, depictions of the reflective qualities of water and his persistent return to portraiture, the exhibition reveals how his style, which flourished during the 1960s, had changed dramatically by the early 1970s.

Through the John Moores Painting Prize, the Walker Art Gallery was able to acquire one of Hockney’s most famous pictures,

'Peter getting out of Nick’s pool',1966, © David Hockney/Collection: Walker Art Gallery, National Museums Liverpool, when the artist won the prize in 1967 at the age of 30.

His experiences and the work he produced during the 1960s and ‘70s were instrumental in his success.

This exhibition highlights several themes within Hockney’s work: a growing confidence in expressing his homosexuality and in finding his own style, his skill as a draughtsman and printmaker, particularly seen in his responses to Constantine P Cavafy's poems; his obsession with capturing the properties of water; and lastly, portraiture, which has continued to play a central role in his output.


* In the Mood for Love - looks at some of the major early paintings that Hockney produced at the Royal College of Art (1959-62):

'Cliff,' 1962

* Picturing Poetry - explores Hockney’s interest in poetry and looks at how he was inspired by the poems of one of his favourite writers, Constantine P Cavafy.

David Hockney Portrait of Cavafy II 1966

We Two Boys Together Clinging,
1961 (inspired by a Walt Whitman poem). © David Hockney. Collection Arts Council, London. Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates.

* On Reflection - shows a selection of Hockney’s water-themed paintings. Those of swimming pools are among his most renowned:

'Man in Shower in Beverly Hills', 1964 © David Hockney. Photo © Tate, London 2013

'Gregory,' 1974 © David Hockney/Arts Council Collection

* Familiar Faces - looks at Hockney's portraits, which include images of his friends.

David Hockney Biography

Born in Bradford in 1937, David Hockney studied painting at the Royal College of Art in London from 1959 to 1962. His stellar reputation was established while he was still a student; his work was featured in several of the annual Young Contemporaries exhibitions, one of which heralded the birth of British Pop Art. He progressed quickly along this path to become one of the world’s best known British artists.

He first came to America (New York) in 1961 but settled in Los Angeles soon after a visit in 1964. He is closely associated with southern California and has produced a large body of work there over many decades.

In recent years the artist has relocated to Bridlington, Yorkshire where his work has focused on documenting the rural landscape. The artist was elected a Royal Academician in 1991 and recently appointed a member of the Order of Merit by the Queen.