David Hockney exhib at the MAC

A new exhibition by esteemed British artist David Hockney, purveyor of a particularly colourful style of painting that has drawn influence from the baroque, cubism, the pop art movement and computer graphics, will go on display at the MAC in Belfast from August 19.

The collection will be exhibited to mark the influential artist, set designer, printmaker and photographer’s 80th year and will be Ireland’s first major showcase of his work.

The painter, who is based between Yorkshire, London, Los Angeles and Hollywood, is considered one of the most influential British artists of the 20th century. He began his career producing expressionist works similar to the work of Francis Bacon but switched from oils to acrylic paint and began producing pictures of American swimming pools as the pop art movement and its celebration of consumerist and mass produced culture began to dominate the era. His work is notable for its exploration of homosexuality; the artist is openly gay, and unlike Andy Warhol whom he befriended, he has not been reticent in engaging with such personal material.

Hockney has made set designs and portraits for the Royal Court Theatre and the Metropolitan Opera in New York and is said to have been born with synaesthesia, which allows him to see synesthetic colours in response to musical stimuli.

His work has passed through numerous phases and stylistic preoccupations from photo montage to portraiture and landscape painting en plein air in his native Yorkshire.

In June 2007, Hockney’s largest painting, Bigger Trees Near Water, which measures 15 feet by 40 feet, was hung in the Royal Academy’s largest gallery. This work is a monumental-scale view of a coppice in Yorkshire between Bridlington and York which was painted on 50 individual canvases that he produced over five weeks.

Since 2009 he has produced paintings using iPads and iPods; in 2011 he visited California to paint Yosemite National Park on his iPad.

The eagerly anticipated exhibition at the MAC will be entitled ‘David Hockney: I draw, I do’ and will focus on the artist’s early work including his famous Paper Pool series alongside work from the current decade celebrating Hockney’s interest in drawing.

Hugh Mulholland, senior curator at the MAC said: ‘We are delighted to be presenting the first significant exhibition of David Hockney’s work in Ireland to date. The exhibition focuses on Hockney’s formative years at Bradford Regional College of Art in the 1950s and will include rarely seen anatomical and observational drawings, early graphite portraits as well as significant later works which demonstrate Hockney’s continued interest in pushing the boundaries of his practice using new technologies.

“We are very pleased to be able to show a series of his iPad portraits of family and friends as well as some of his well-known works from The Arrival of Spring, 2011, which many visitors may recognise.”

n David Hockney: I draw, I do opens on August 19 at the MAC. Visit www.themaclive.com for more information.