Friday, January 24, 2014

Hockney's Green

I don't consider myself a big David Hockney fan. Indeed, I've been inclined to agree with the words of a smart man I know, who's said that Hockney "found a romantic luminosity in Southern California...that I found both inaccurate and unappealing. Chirpy and sanitized his vision seemed..." So I didn't have terribly high expectations for his blockbuster exhibition at the De Young. But here's the thing--in his maturity Hockney went back to his native England and painted its countryside. And this new subject matter makes it a whole new ballgame. The main thing that struck me about all the work in this show (and there was a lot of it, and a lot of it was very big--which was good because that meant you could see it over the heads of the thronging crowds), what struck me most of all was his use of the color green. Man oh man. Here is a guy who gets green. His greens glow like the Emerald City, like kryptonite. They sear themselves into your brain and haunt your dreams. And this is a painer who seems to have been working mostly in blues and yellows for most of his career. Huh. The amazing green carried over some interesting video pieces as well (but decent still images of those are not to be had). It even carried over into the backgrounds of portraits (see bottom image).

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