Hockney arrived in rural Normandy, France, in March 2019. The artist settled into a 17th-century traditional half-timbered cottage and converted the adjacent barn into a studio, from which he could observe the changing of the seasons in the surrounding countryside. The prints featured in this exhibition provide a glimpse into that pastoral existence; they depict the artist’s environs with an eye toward precise line and detail. They also communicate a distinct sense of the pleasure of working with ink through their light touch and linear delicacy. The four views of the house, one from each cardinal direction, offer a full picture of the artist’s home, while imaginative depictions of the studio including Spilt Ink and Ruby Dreaming seem to peer inside not only a lively working studio, but an endlessly playful creative mind. In contrast to these expansive compositions, three iPad prints offer intimate interior views of hearth and home. These continue the artist’s ongoing series of drawings on the iPad that utilize technology for its unique offerings in line and color. All of the prints on view affirm the primacy of drawing in Hockney’s practice.
Hockney was drawn to the Norman countryside by its picturesque landscape and deep history, including the famed Bayeux Tapestry that recounts the Norman conquest of England. This 11th century masterpiece has long held Hockney’s interest, as it is an early example of narrative storytelling in two dimensions. The concept of time as subject has always fascinated Hockney and is something he has explored in earlier series such as The Arrival of Spring and recent photographic drawings. In the current exhibition, Autour de la maison, Été and its companion Autour de la maison, Hiver echo the lengthy, frieze-like form of the tapestry. They capture not only a wide-angle view of the house and grounds, but, like the tapestry, depict the passage of time through repetition over the course of the composition.
Each of the works are color inkjet prints, printed on archival art paper in an edition of 35 (edition of 15 for Autour de la maison, Été and Autour de la maison, Hiver), and signed by the artist.
David Hockney (British, b. 1937) is arguably the most celebrated living artist of our time. He has been the subject of countless museum exhibitions, and held a career retrospective at Tate Britain, London, UK, in 2017, which traveled to the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY. In spring of 2021, Hockney’s The Arrival of Spring, Normandy, 2020, a celebration of the unfolding of the season, will be shown at the Royal Academy of Arts in London, UK.