David Hockney, Winter Timber, 2009
David Hockney (b.1937) is considered one of the most influential British artists of the twentieth century. Hockney is a painter, printmaker, photographer, and stage designer, and he is best known for his significant contributions to Pop Art and for his open exploration of homosexuality. In this more recent piece Hockney applies expressionist elements (which also feature in his early works) to the tradition of landscape painting with fascinating results. This is an extremely large painting, roughly nine feet by twenty feet (consisting of fifteen separate 3x4 foot canvases) and the effect must be remarkable in person. The number of trees, both felled and still standing, fills the canvas and gives a sense of tremendous scale and depth. The extreme subjectivity of the colors gives the scene a dream-like quality. The purple stump toward the right is almost anthropomorphized and gives the scene an extremely vibrant and quirky character. Without a person in sight to collect these yellow logs stacked like so many french fries, they become simply another feature of the landscape and add to the odd complexity of this forest. The leading lines are one of the most noteworthy features of the work; the yellow logs, blue trees, purple leaves, and pink path all stretch back into the distance giving that sense of depth and creating the sense of a forest we could wander through, always flanked by these astounding blue trees.
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