David Hockney, ‘Amaryllis in Vase, from Moving Focus’, 1985, Phillips

Image: 46 x 32 1/2 in. (116.8 x 82.6 cm)
Sheet: 50 x 36 in. (127 x 91.4 cm)

Signed, dated and numbered 51/80 in pencil (there were also 16 artist's proofs), published by Tyler Graphics Ltd., Bedford, New York (with their blindstamp), framed.

From the Catalogue:
The synaesthetic experience of Hockney’s Amaryllis in Vase: the colour, vibration and scent, pours out of the picture and envelops the viewer. Luscious, jewel-toned hues echo the joyous freedom and variety of mark-making that Hockney explored during the 1980s in painting, photography, and experimental lithography at the studio of Kenneth Tyler in California. It was with Tyler that Hockney embarked upon his ambitious Moving Focus series exploring his enduring concern with the construction of images, the complexities of space and the assembly of multiple perspectives.

For Hockney, single-point perspective is a limited, constrictive way of communicating our experience of the world around us, which he likens to “looking at the world from the point of view of a paralyzed Cyclops - for a split second.” Drawing inspiration from the Cubism of Picasso’s 1980 retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, Hockney embraced a pictorial structure that could accommodate multiple viewpoints and perspectives as well as time and movement.

For Amaryllis in Vase, Hockney uses reverse perspective, placing the shorter end of the table closer to the viewer in the foreground of the composition, with the longer side at the back of the picture space. By reversing the traditional vanishing point, Hockney exploits the fluctuations of deep and shallow space, pushing everything into the foreground and directly involving the viewer. The hazy chequerboard background (reminiscent of Persian miniature paintings) bulges and recedes in optical illusion as our eye flits across the surface. The wallpaper appears to melt into the flowers rather than sitting passively behind them and as the table tilts forwards, the eye calculates the possibility of the vase smashing onto the floor.
Hockney recognises that we see both geometrically and psychologically and uses that knowledge to create images of sensuous line and colour, through which the eye dances and where edges of viewpoints fold into and across each other. Hockney compared the human experience of looking as a matter of layering, of understanding the present by comparing it with the past - layer upon layer. When we look at his Amaryllis in Vase we are seeing not only what is in front of us, but all of the vases of flowers that we have ever seen.
Courtesy of Phillips

Tyler Graphics 272
Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo 266

About David Hockney

A pioneer of the British Pop Art movement in the early 1960s alongside Richard Hamilton, David Hockney gained recognition for his semi-abstract paintings on the theme of homosexual love before it was decriminalized in England in 1967. In We Two Boys Clinging Together (1961), red-painted couples embrace one other while floating amidst fragments from a Walt Whitman poem. After moving to California at the end of 1963, Hockney began painting scenes of the sensual and uninhibited life of athletic young men, depicting swimming pools, palm trees, and perpetual sunshine. Experimenting with photography in the mid-1970s, Hockney went on to create his famous photocollages with Polaroids and snapshot prints arranged in a grid formation, pushing the two-dimensionality of photography to the limit, fragmenting the monocular vision of the camera and activating the viewer in the process. A versatile artist, Hockney has produced work in almost every medium—including full-scale opera set designs, prints, and drawings using cutting-edge technology such as fax machines, laser photocopiers, computers, and even iPhones and iPads.

British, b. 1937, Bradford, United Kingdom, based in Yorkshire, United Kingdom