The NGV is really killing it with primo exhibitions at the moment. Right off the back of a stunning winter season featuring the classic masterpieces of Degas, and running concurrently with the jaw dropping fashion exhibition Viktor & Rolf: Fashion Artists, we can now enjoy the exuberant colour of David Hockney: Current
This solo exhibition features more than 1200 works from the past decade by David Hockney, who is considered Britain’s greatest living contemporary artist. At the age of 79 is still working prolifically and experimenting with new technologies, this collection not only included paintings and photography, but also digital works that range from iPad and iPhone sketches, to immersive video installations.
Hockney’s work is vibrant and uplifting, digital printing techniques have allowed artworks to be printed at large scale which puts you at the center of his art. But there is also an intimacy to his work as he shares his daily iPad sketches, a charming insight into Hockney’s domestic life in Yorkshire, depicting slippers, bedclothes, pots of teas and flowers.
The sketch collection shows the evolution of his experiments with the digital medium, and I found it refreshing and inspiring that such a renowned artist is willing to try something new.
I’ve been able to practice the iPad a lot in the last few years. I’ve been using the iPad since it came out and I’ve spent a lot of time working on it. It took some time to figure out how the brushstrokes worked in this new technology and I’ve really loved mastering it. – David Hockney
In all of his work he manages to capture the essence of a scene, the light and shadow, texture and dimension with a few seemingly simple strokes on a tablet. The beauty of this new artistic medium is that now we not only get to see the finished work, but the process as well.
Animations replay each brush stroke as the colours are layered over each other – it was mesmerising to watch and a fantastic learning tool for any budding artist.
I think these new technologies are a great new medium to work on, but what I really love about the iPad is that it’s always ready. It’s instant. I can just pick it up, without preparing any paints. I drew the sun coming up whilst I was living in Bridlington because I could just pick up the iPad and draw it in the dark. – David Hockney
David Hockney: Current also features a 60-metre long portrait hall which houses Hockney’s recent body of painting work titled ‘82 portraits and 1 Still Life’ depicting the artist’s family, friends and notable subjects including Barry Humphries, Frank Gehry, John Baldessari and Hockney’s Sydney-based brother, John Hockney. (The one still life is because the sitter didn’t show.)
This is a wonderful exhibition which will appeal to viewers of all ages. I’d especially recommend it for families as the colourful art style, and themes of nature’s changing seasons are very approachable for children, as well as the concept that art can be created instantly at any time and place with just an iPad.
I guarantee you to walk away with a renewed sense of creativity. I’ve already downloaded the brushes app on my phone and had a play and sketching some still lifes.