Fifth Head and a Visit to Hockney’s Studio

In the studio the last of the heads is roughed in, leaving me free to get onto the figures and the background. I’m beginning to feel more comfortable with a shape for the space they’re in, inspired in part by Alma-Tadema’s lovely marble compositions, and in part by Millais’ detailed foliage which in turn inspired the work I did on the Traveler painting prior to the Angel and these pieces.

I was invited to visit David Hockney’s Los Angeles studio to see what he’s been up to. Apart from showing us his iPad drawings / paintings he’s made a wall of twenty-four high definition television screens that play a video of a drive down a stretch of road near Bridlington, Yorkshire, shot on multiple cameras simultaneously played back on different screens. The twelve screens of the left half of the wall of shows the journey as it happened one hour before the screens on the right half of the wall.

The result of this combination of journeys filmed at multiple viewpoints and at different times is a strange cubist moving picture that slowly shifts and alters as we watch the movement of Yorkshire scenery and cloudy Northern English skies. Hockney is most well known as a painter, but he’s always been fascinated by photography, using it to create his famous cubist photo-collage “Pearblossom Highway”. This work emulates that piece, but now the multiple points of view oscillate through time, adding a fourth dimension to our perception of the work. Clever stuff.

While enjoying David’s new work I had the pleasure of meeting a fellow Englishman, Jonathan Wateridge, whose catalogue of paintings of epic scenes of Los Angeles life, group portraits and plane crashes really caught my attention. Besides being a painter who is equally unafraid of scale or the criticism of modernists, Jonathan’s work is technically excellent and deserves attention. He’s got some photos of his work at this website.

About pearce

Michael Pearce is an artist, writer, and professor of art. He is the author of "Art in the Age of Emergence."
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