Hockney close to home with Yorkshire landscape show

Tue Jan 17, 2012 4:54pm EST
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By Mike Collett-White

LONDON (Reuters) - A major new show of British artist David Hockney's recent landscapes is a homecoming of sorts, rooting the 74-year-old in his native Yorkshire and far from the swimming pools of Los Angeles for which he is most famous.

"David Hockney: A Bigger Picture" features more than 150 landscapes, many of which are vast in scale and vibrant in color. Most date from the last eight years barring a few earlier landscapes going back as far as 1956.

"Winter Timber", for example, is a 2009 work over six meters (yards) long and, like all of his larger paintings, made up of several smaller panels.

The stump of a dead tree is deep purple, the felled logs next to it orange and yellow, the grass a vivid green and the avenue of tress receding into the distance bright blue.

Curators of the blockbuster show, which runs from January 21-April 9, said the picture showed how Hockney tended to give himself freer rein when painting from memory, as he did here, than directly from observation.

Asked why he had decided to return home and devote so much time to landscape paintings of Yorkshire in northern England, he replied: "I knew the landscape was rather subtle and lovely there ... If you're my age and you find an exciting subject, you stick with it."

He told Channel 4 News in an interview that his three decades in California, where he made his trademark swimming pool series, had affected the way he saw his homeland.

"It does make you see ... England a bit differently," he said. "That's partly what it's about. Simply the changes in the seasons, because you'd been in California, they became a bigger event here for me than for somebody who's here all the time."   Continued...

<p>British artist David Hockney poses with his painting "The Arrival of Spring in Woldgate, East Yorkshire in 2011 (twenty-eleven)" at the Royal Academy of Arts in London January 16, 2012. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor</p>