As we’ve previously reported, British Painter David Hockney has embraced the iPad as a creative medium for painting. Hockney has previously shown “Fresh Flowers,” his iPad flower paintings, in museums in the US, Canada, and France. He is about to debut a series of new works in London as part of “David Hockney RA: A Bigger Picture” at the Royal Academy of Arts.
The exhibition is not a retrospective, but it encompasses work from Hockney’s 50-year career. The included works focus on landscape, many of which depict Hockney’s current home in Yorkshire, though works showing the Grand Canyon and Yosemite are also included. In addition to works on iPad the show includes a sequence of multi-screen films that Hockney used 18 cameras to create.
In anticipation of this exhibition, the Guardian recently profiled Hockney. Hockney told that paper that when this show was planned four years ago, “He’d never even heard of an iPad.” Obviously Hockney isn’t alone in that, but his ability to integrate new technology into work that didn’t even exist at the time the show was planned is unusual for the art world. As with many iPad users, it was love at first touch. Now Hockney is the iPad’s painter célèbre. According to the Guardian, Hockney totes his iPad around in a “bespoke wooden frame.” (The purveyor of that particular accessory could make a mint, if only we knew just which case Hockney uses.) Hockney describes the iPad saying, “It’s like an endless piece of paper that perfectly fitted the feeling I had that painting should be big.”
Though most iPad users don’t share Hockney’s singular artistic talent, many of us can identify with his feeling that the iPad is “perfectly fitted” for our favorite tasks, whether it’s reading, gaming, or something as mundane as checking the weather forecast. The iPad does so many things well, but in Hockney’s masterful hands it becomes magnificent.
“David Hockney RA: A Bigger Picture” has been organized by the Royal Academy of Arts, London, in collaboration with the Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao and the Museum Ludwig, Cologne. The exhibition will run from January 21 – April 9, 2012.