“I draw flowers every day on my iPhone,” David Hockney has said, “and send them to my friends, so they get fresh flowers every morning. And my flowers last.” The iconic British painter best known for his vivid planes of saturated blue—representing the intense light and swimming pools of Los Angeles, a city that was long his home—has always been one to experiment with technologies. Past works have included everything from charcoal and watercolor to faxed and photocopied imagery, photography, and digital videos.
Now with some 60 years of his career behind him, Hockney is showing no signs of tiring. The artist presents 16 iPad drawings, currently on view at London’s Annely Juda, startlingly luminous digital sketches of landscapes in East Yorkshire (close to where he grew up), in various seasons and weather systems—whose intoxicating colors are sometimes difficult to place in the English landscape. In addition to drawings honed with dexterously handled iPad tools, Hockney also shows the film Woldgate Woods, November 26th 2010: nine digital videos synchronized on nine video monitors that are effectively windows onto a wooded landscape at different times of year, a patchwork of slightly varying perspectives that recalls Hockney’s earlier collages of Polaroid photographs. You might think that replacing the artist’s brush with an iPad swipe would have canonical painters turning in their graves. Hockney, as spirited as ever, would have you think otherwise; “Picasso would have gone mad with this,” he once said, “so would van Gogh.”
On view at Annely Juda Fine Art, London, May 7–July 11th, 2014.