It is highly amusing to me, as a curator of an online gallery, that I will be more likely to view this must see exhibition on a computer screen than on the walls of the Royal Academy as its almost impossible to get through on the ticket hotlines.
I bet Hockney would approve of people looking at his work online as he often refers to his fascination with technology. Like so many of us today, Hockney used his iPad to plan and prepare for his big presentation.
Hockney sketched 'The Arrival of Spring, East Yorkshire' on his Apple tablet. This combined with his employment of cameras, mounted on Jeeps Google Earth style, to capture the Yorkshire landscape’s changing seasons, has cemented him as a pioneer of our digital era. (You can view the result of his ground breaking 'multipartite' film created for the BBC's Country File program, here).
The paintings I have glimpsed online and in print achieve an admirable feat for UK tourism giving you a yearning to visit Yorkshire. Hockney’s frequent referral to his admiration of Post-Impressionist painter Van Gogh, explains much of his life’s ambition to encapsulate a snapshot of time - be it LA or Bridlington - on his canvases by layering more than just imagery onto the surfaces resulting in truly tangible viewing experience for the viewer.
I have been trying to put my finger on what it is that makes Hockney, a man in his 70s, so attractive to so many and such an inspiration to the emerging artists I work with. I wonder if it is his ability to get us to pay greater attention to the world around us using traditional techniques effortlessly and unquestioningly combined with the latest technology - a feat that should leave many a tech entrepreneur quaking in their boots. After seeing his work you are left compelled to examine and appreciate your own 3D landscapes through Hockney tinted glasses.
The fundamental consequence of this exhibition for me personally is a combination of the fact he makes it OK for artists to use technology to enhance their practice and the eternal legitimacy it has provided for the enjoyment and benefits achievable from viewing fine art online. This has been achieved by the exhibition of his on-pad sketched on multiple iPad screens.
I believe that this exhibition will be the artist's most successful ever not only because of the huge appetite our nation has developed for blockbuster exhibitions or because he is a proper artist painting proper landscapes en plein air (outside) but because he captures and preserves moments of our times successfully merging techniques of old with those of right now.
I am ending this review with sneaky hand of crossed fingers behind my back praying that I manage to reserve my tickets (perhaps I'll abandon the phone and try booking online this time) and also thinking - gosh - a good old fashioned artist using an iPad - Brilliant!
Some examples of Hockney-inspired Degree artist’s work: