The most herculean feats of David Hockney's career took place in the swimming pool. Two early prints dating from 1964, within the artist's early period, revealed the bedrock of this splashy aesthetic.
Somewhat sacred while still simultaneously a bit profane, private swimming pools were vessels of post-war American fantasies as well as places of freedom and performativity protected from prying eyes. In the 1964 lithograph Water Pouring into Swimming Pool, Santa Monica, an odd number of hoses poured out water with varying intensities: from bursting geyser to timid trickle, this cascading chorus exposed Hockney's deep formal investigation of water as a vehicle for exploring light, energy and dynamic movement.
Enamored as he was with Los Angeles, Hockney never waded too far from social commentary. Also from 1964, the photographic screenprint with hand-cut stencils, Cleanliness is Next to Godliness, revealed a nude figure raising his thumb amidst the splash of a pouring shower, which added a slightly subversive wash to images of squeaky-clean, capitalist champions.