For me The Centrifugal Soul was going to be hard to top in terms of the effect it has had on me. There’s not a day goes by that I play my phone recordings, which I know is not the real thing, I have some incredible memories of that show at Blain|Southern. We moved onto a smaller show over at Beaux Arts to see Jonathan Leaman, a collection of old and new surrealist self-portraits. I found the later work a little hit and miss. There were pieces that were a little too obvious, whilst others were throwing everything at you. All externalising his emotions into these hyperreal paintings.
Whilst the later work had was far stronger, a more cohesive body of work, a visual style and iconography much like Salvador Dali. I could feel a sense if anxiety in the work, a man overburdened by later life, its all still happening for him. Honestly is at the centre of these paintings, even quite formal too. I feel the earlier painting which were hung downstairs really don’t help this series which are bold and imaginative, highly detailed paintings of wonder and worry.
We had to wait a few hours for the final show of the trip – Hockney at Tate Britain which was more for my sister than myself. Not being a painter I wasn’t as interested. After some refreshment we were let into 12 room show that began with his early work from the 1950’s before slowly moving through time and his work. I was personally quite taken by the portraits from the 1960’s. Far larger than I expected. I guess years of photos and seeing them on TV never prepares you for the real thing – the art itself. Reminding me of the importance the original and the aura of the work.
I must admit I was ignorant of his medium, switching from Oils to acrylic for a time, before reverting back to oils until very recently when he also introduced to his practice the digital, both cameras and iPads. Of course not forgetting his photo-montages. I found the most affecting, those of his family, you can see more attention to them, making the individual stills marry-up to create the figures, most prominently his mother.
As expected the show was packed throughout – the further round you got the more viewers of the work were lost to them. The 4 seasons room, I could have stayed there far longer than I did. Before moving onto the iPad room where we saw a combination of multiple slideshow and his latest works being built up in time-lapse videos. Making the most of the latest technology, something that Hockney has never been afraid to do. I came away with a greater appreciation for his work. After years of printed images I have finally seen the real thing in a show that celebrates a 60 year career.
Hockney rounded off a great weekend of art and more importantly time with my sister. What more can you ask for, family, inspiration and plenty of art.