(K. Brent Tomer),
“I PAINT what I like, when I like, and where I like, with occasional nostalgic journeys,” said David Hockney in 1962, ablaze with youthful self-confidence after graduating from the Royal College of Art. No doubt countless artists have expressed similar aspirations; few have been as consistently successful in achieving them as the celebrated painter from Yorkshire. Tate Britain’s extensive retrospective, staged in honour of Mr Hockney’s upcoming 80th birthday, testifies to plenty of uninhibited experiments over a six-decade career. Yet while his methods and style have altered almost continuously, his eye has remained trained on the people and places he has known and loved.
This humanism, as well as his fidelity to representation, has given Mr Hockney a broad popular appeal from the get-go. He was a celebrity by the 1970s, known for his bleach-blond hair and thick-rimmed glasses as much as his virtuosic painting skills. (“Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy” , the decade-defining portrait of designers Ossie Clark and Celia Birtwell, was purchased by the Tate just months after it was completed.) Already, the record-breaking advance ticket sales and lengthy queues…Continue reading