Travels With JB

Travels With JB

Travel news and reviews

If you’ve ever wondered what type of art the iPad can produce the National Gallery of Victoria is the place for you.

David Hockney Exhibition at the NGV
David Hockney Exhibition at the NGV*

The gallery is exhibiting David Hockney: Current which features more than 600 of Hockney’s iPad and iPhone digital drawings of still life compositions, self-portraits and large-scale landscapes.

As well as displaying the works, the exhibition also provides an insight into how Hockney uses the iPad and the steps involved in creating his work.

As the exhibition explains, Hockney is renowned for his constant experimentation with new technologies. Once he used to always travel with a sketchbook, now it’s an iPad. It took him some time to figure out how the brushstrokes worked on `i devices’. Now he is a fan thanks in part to the art being instantaneous.

Bigger trees near Warter
Bigger Trees Near Water*

Hockney’s iPad creations form part of the 1200 works on display from the past 10 years. The exhibition also includes paintings, photography and video works.

`Big ticket’ exhibition items include Bigger Trees Near Water, Hockney’s largest painting. It comprises 50 oil on canvas panels and is the centrepiece of Hockney’s hugely popular exhibition Bigger Picture at the Royal Academy, London, which he subsequently gifted to the Tate.

The Jugglers part of the David Hockney Exhibition at the NGV
The Jugglers part of the David Hockney Exhibition at the NGV*

I understood this work far more than The Jugglers, an 18-screen, twenty-two minute video that depicts the artist in a room of performers. A Bigger Card Players, a single image that further highlights Hockney’s continued interest in perspective and space, was also a little confusing.

Far easier for me to comprehend was The Four Seasons, Woldgate Woods (Spring 2011, Summer 2010, Autumn 2010, Winter 2010), which showcases the changing landscape of Hockney’s native Yorkshire. Each season comprises nine high-definition screens.

 82 portraits & 1 still life.David Hockney Exhibition at the NGV
82 portraits & 1 still life. David Hockney Exhibition at the NGV*

My favourite exhibit was 82 portraits & 1 still life.  Here a dedicated 60 metre long gallery is lined with 82 recently painted acrylic portrait paintings of the artist’s family, friends and notable subjects including Barry Humphries. When a model sitter was unable to attend one day, Hockney turned to his stocks of fruit and vegetables, hence the title.

Having spent time in Yosemite National Park in California I also enjoyed comparing Hockney’s digital drawings with the landscape I saw.

One of the Yosemite prints*

While I may not have understood some of the works on display, especially some of the video works, I came away from the exhibition with a far greater awareness of new technologically created art works. And this, combined with the chance to see works by the man many consider to be Britain’s greatest living painter, proved most educational.

David Hockney: Current is on display until March 13. Ticket are available via NGV’s website.

*Photo credit: Installation view of David Hockney: Current at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne. © David Hockney Inc.

Visit Italian Jewels-Bulgari Style, John Olsen and Viktor & Rolf: Fashion Artists to read about other current NGV exhibitions.

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