David Hockney: Video Brings Its Time to You, You Bring Your Time to Paintings and Drawings at the Annely Juda Gallery
The last decade was certainly an eventful one for David Hockney, with the highs of two hugely popular UK retrospectives – first at the Royal Academy in 2012 and then at the Tate Britain three years ago. In between there was the tragic death of one of his young studio assistants, Dominic Elliott, in Bridlington in 2013 – the same year that he decided to return to Los Angeles again, having lived in East Yorkshire for eight years. At the dawn of this new decade, Hockney – perhaps Britain’s greatest living artist – has two new exhibitions in London. The National Portrait Gallery is currently putting on a show purely devoted to his drawings of himself and his small group of sitters. Coinciding with this is a more intimate exhibition the artist has chosen to call Video Brings Its Time to You, You Bring Your Time to Paintings and Drawings, which is at the Annely Juda Fine Art in Mayfair.
This exhibition features 18 portraits on canvas (mostly done in 2018) of people in the Yorkshireman’s social circle. A lot has appeared in the press about one of these portraits, the instantly recognisable British pop star Ed Sheeran, whose mop of red hair, glasses and tattooed arms make him easy to identify. There’s also a canvas of a behatted Bruno Mars. At 82, Hockney has lost none of his flair for draughtsmanship. A study of the late Sir John Richardson sees the friend and biographer of Picasso staring pensively into the middle distance. Each is rendered in a combination of charcoal, crayon and acrylic on canvas, displaying Hockney’s characteristic feel for line and colour. In a side room, five coloured ink drawings on paper can be viewed. Featured here are studies of Margaret, the artist’s sister, and Scarlett Clark, the granddaughter of Hockney’s muse Celia Birtwell.
Video Brings Its Time To You also includes two multiple-perspective videos, shown on the gallery’s third floor, beneath the aforementioned portraits. Woldgate Woods, Winter 2010 (comprised of nine screens) and Seven Yorkshire Landscapes (2011, 18 screens) were both filmed in Yorkshire, Hockney’s birthplace. He attached multiple cameras to a car and drove around the countryside. The resulting videos can be viewed here on different screens, forming a single piece of work. Hockney has spoken of how his intention is to force the eye to scan because, in reality, one decides the order of which to look at things.
Three of the artist’s photographic drawings also feature at the Annely Juda. More of Hockney’s friends and associates (Ed Sheeran among them) appear in interior scenes of his LA studio, sharing the space with equipment, pieces of furniture, props and mirrors. Hockney is once again creating composite images of photographs and paintings to join together several viewpoints. Perspective and depth are thrown into turmoil.
Despite being in his 80s, Hockney shows little sign of slowing down creatively. Over a number of years, he has carved out a reputation for himself as an artist keen to explore the potential of new technologies. Such enthusiasm has led to experimentation with the iPad (as highlighted by the RA’s showcase in 2012), video and Photoshop. This desire to extend the range of his practice, alongside his undimmed ability to capture the human figure, reveals an artist still bursting with curiosity about people and the world he inhabits.
Image: David Hockney, Woldgate Woods, Winter 2010
David Hockney: Video Brings Its Time to You, You Bring Your Time to Paintings and Drawings is at the Annely Juda Gallery from 28th February until 25th April 2020. For further information visit the exhibition’s website here.