My first introduction to David Hockney’s work was while attending a mid-century modernism course at the University of British Columbia. It was a typical wet autumn day and as I sat in a cold, dark auditorium, my professor threw Hockney’s A Bigger Splash onto the screen. There was something about this large scale colourful painting of a California backyard swimming pool, that prompted me to start planning a sunny vacation.
Fast forward 14 years and I find myself standing in front of A Bigger Splash at Hockney’s exhibition at the Met in New York City. It was great timing that my NYC trip coincided with Hockney’s exhibition as his work had recently re-entered my life, at my workplace no less — Inform Interiors.
Our growing bookstore had recently received Taschen’s Sumo A Bigger Book on Hockney and his career, their first ever Sumo publication for a painter. In it, more than 60 years of Hockney’s work is featured, from his teenage days at art school, to his most recent extensive series of portraits, iPad drawings, and Yorkshire landscapes. “There’s lots of books on my work… this book has everything.” is written by Hockey on the first page, and after seeing some of the pieces from the book in person, I understand why Taschen chose Hockney as their first Sumo painter.
What surprises me is how large his body of work really is. The exhibition and the book start from his very early works and progress to when he moves to Los Angeles. LA is where he began to paint the iconic pictures of backyards, wonderful shimmering pools and then, the marvellous double portraits. Both the book and the exhibition have a wonderful survey of portrait drawings, and make evident Hockney’s love of the artist Pablo Picasso and Cubism. The history of art is something Hockney has paid attention to throughout his life.
The exhibition at the Met closed this past week, therefore I urge you to witness the next best thing in Vancouver. We have a limited number of these Collector’s Edition books available (No. 1,001–10,000), each signed by David Hockney and completed with a Marc Newson bookstand. His work needs to be shown in a scale like this — a standard-sized art book just would not do it justice.