19 January - 18 February 2012

David Hockney

Moving Focus

    In the mid-1970s, shortly after moving to California, David Hockney began his working relationship with master printer Kenneth Tyler. It was with Tyler, that Hockney created the Moving Focus series, which remains his largest and most ambitious series of colour lithographs.

    The series combines the Renaissance tradition of fixed-viewpoint painting with the Eastern aesthetic of multiple, narrative viewpoints within the same picture. The acknowledgement of the flatness of picture plane along with the exaggeration of perspective and foreshortening present in Tyler Dining Room, Amaryllis in Vase, Pembroke Studio Interior and, most didactically, The Perspective Lesson underscore Hockney's questioning of the traditional western values in composition.

    Hockney made the two Hotel Acatlán prints featured in this exhibition after discovering the hotel when car trouble forced him to stop in the midst of a journey to Mexico City. Hotel Acatlán: Second Day is based on sketches made of the hotel courtyard shortly after his arrival. Further sketches made when he revisited the hotel on the return leg of his journey resulted in Hotel Acatlán: Two Weeks Later. The figure in the lower right corner of this print refers to his 1954 portrait of his mother, Woman with a Sewing Machine.

    The Hotel Acatlán also provided the subject matter for the three View of Hotel Well lithographs hanging in the exhibition, each one providing a different viewpoint of the central feature of the courtyard. The sense of distorted perspective is here enhanced by the skewed, hand-painted frames designed by Hockney himself.

    David Hockney was born in 1937 in Bradford, where he studied at the Bradford School of Art before going on to graduate from the Royal College of Art in 1962. He was elected to the Royal Academy of Arts in 1991 and made a Companion of Honour in 1997. He was awarded an Order of Merit in this year's New Year Honours list.

    Hockney is generally acknowledged to be one of the most important and influential artists working today and his paintings, prints and drawings have been the subject of numerous retrospectives at almost every major international museum. Examples of his work are held in most international public collections, and works from the Moving Focus series can be found in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Tate Collection, the National Gallery of Australia, the Government Art Collection, the Walker Art Centre, Minneapolis and the Smithsonian Museum, Washington DC amongst others.

    Throughout his career, Hockney has been a gifted and prolific printmaker and some of his most iconic images have been realised in various print media. Alan Cristea Gallery holds a wide and ever-changing selection of his prints in stock.

    The Royal Academy of Arts is currently holding a major exhibition of new landscape works by David Hockney. Featuring vivid paintings inspired by the East Yorkshire landscape, these large-scale works have been created especially for the galleries at the Royal Academy and are shown alongside related drawings and film.


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