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David Hockney

Artist 32

David Hockney Painting

David Hockney is an English painter and photographer who was an important contributor to the pop art movement of the 1960s. He is considered one of the most influential British artists of the 20th century.

He insists on personal subject matter - a thing that separates him from most other Pop artists. He depicts the domestic sphere - scenes from his own life and that of friends from still-lifes to landscapes, portraits of friends, his dogs, and life as a gay man.

Hockney was openly gay, and has remained a staunch advocate for gay rights. In the context of a macho art scene that dismissed "pretty color" as effeminate, Hockney's bright greens, purples, pinks, and yellows are declarative statements in support of sexual freedom.

Hockney is known for his tender depictions of queer domestic life, the painter’s exhibition reminds viewers that queerness can be just as gentle as it is radical.

The earliest of Hockney’s works hail from a time when homosexuality was still criminalized in both the United States and the artist’s native Britain. Regardless, Hockney depicted gay love from the very beginning of his career.

Portrait painting has always been prominent in Hockney’s career. He has painted portraits and double portraits of friends, lovers, and relatives just under life size in a realistic style that adeptly captured the likenesses of his subjects.

Hockney, breaks every rule deliberately, delighting in the deconstruction of proportion, linear perspective, and color theory. He shows that rules are meant to be shattered, and that opposites can coexist, a message of tolerance that transcends art and has profound implications in the political and social realm.

Like other Pop artists, Hockney revived figurative painting in a style that referenced the visual language of advertising but is separated by his obsession with Cubism. In the spirit of the Cubists he combines several scenes to create a composite view, choosing tricky spaces where depth perception is already a challenge.

This cubist edge gives a depth to his work and creates for open narratives that beg to be pondered.


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