Since 1960 David Hockney has charmed the world with his Pop-primitivist paintings, which, never taking themselves too seriously, evoke true feelings of nostalgia, tranquility and the propensity to daydream. His exhibition 'A Bigger Picture,' focusing on the East Yorkshire landscape, is spending the summer at the Guggenheim in Bilbao after a successful run at the Royal Academy of Arts.
Hockney, considered by many to be Britain's most famous living painter, has become somewhat of a rebel from his refusal to rebel. As hip artistic themes turned conceptual and hip artistic aesthetics turned abstract, Hockney continued pursuing his passion for representational landscapes, albeit with a twist. Fearlessly combining Cubism and cartooning, art historical tradition and the latest Apple product, Hockney's work is infused with tradition, yet he the cannon like a box of crayons to be mixed and matched at will. His fearlessness and capriciousness has kept his work informed and innovative for over 40 years.
Most of the exhibition consists of recent landscape oil paintings in massive scale, having been painted onto multiple combined canvasses. Some are made of 15, others 30, all depicting a sharp-edged psychedelia that evokes everything from Monet's haystacks to Roussea's lush jungles. His acidic palette uses colors almost too bright for nature, that primarily exists on digital screens.
Aside from his oddly fervent stand on tobacco rights, these days Hockney is most known for his iPad drawings. The exhibition shows a selection of the notorious works, although they are more difficult to pick out than you may suspect. The smooth lines and bright hues perfectly suit Hockney's signature style, making the decision less of a gimmick and more of a wise progression. Apparently the Queen agreed, as Hockney rendered her portrait via iPad for her Jubilee last week.
While not everyone is a Hockney fan, it is undeniably that he has managed to stay relevant and prolific for quite a while without really giving a damn about what people think. The exhibition runs at the Guggenheim Bilbao until September 30.