Following several years spent capturing the Yorkshire landscape, which culminated in A Bigger Picture at the Royal Academy of Arts in 2012, David Hockney moved back to Los Angeles. There he returned to the intimacy of portraiture, a genre that has played a major role in his long career. In the summer of 2013 he painted the first of what was to become a large body of portraits. All share the same dimensions and are painted in acrylic on canvas, with the subject seated on the same chair in Hockney's Los Angeles studio, illuminated by the bright, clear light of southern California. Almost every painting was executed over three days, or, as Hockney puts it, in a wry comment on photography, with a twenty-hour exposure. None of these portraits is a commission. Hockney invited each of his subjects to sit; they comprise family, friends and close associates, thereby affording the viewer an insight into the artist's life in Los Angeles. The uniformity of each painting's key elements highlights the differences between the individual sitters, and each depiction the result of intense scrutiny becomes a kind of psychological exploration. The effect is a deliberately immersive and intense installation, in which Hockney reassesses the role of the painted portrait.
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Royal Academy of Arts,
From Monet to Matisse, Painting Modern Garden exhibition preview
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The National Gallery, London
The Golden Age of Venetian Art
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Allegory of Love.
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