Critics’ Picks

A Bigger Puddle near Kilham, November 2005.

A Bigger Puddle near Kilham, November 2005.

London

David Hockney

Annely Juda Fine Art
23 Dering Street 4th Floor
June 13, 2013–October 28, 2006

Coming home to the English countryside, David Hockney has recently painted his native Yorkshire with the rigor and fascination he first bestowed upon the shimmering swimming pools of LA. In almost all of the twenty-five canvases on view here, Hockney includes a dirt road, muddy, shaded, or overgrown. The windy trails, including Rudston to Sledmere, August 2005 and Path Through Wheat Field, July 2005, stand in for the artist’s journey, the evolution of his identity and work. Meanwhile, Hockney’s lush fields, village rooftops, trees, and a distant church steeple appear heavy and permanent, suggesting a community that has remained largely isolated and unchanged. The colors Hockney uses are vivid, both freshly observed and drawn from distant memories. His confident brushstroke communicates the intimacy of his familiarity with the landscape but doesn’t preclude the immediacy of a first encounter. His approach is also playful, as in A Bigger Puddle near Kilham, November 2005, which references his iconic A Bigger Splash, 1967. In this work, Hockney’s close study of rain-filled tire ruts admits a sentimental gaze. Not just capturing a likeness, Hockney is revealing his relationship to this place, a connection tinged with nostalgia and curiosity. In the accompanying catalogue essay, the artist writes that as “the camera sees geometrically—we must see psychologically.”