Hockney, a bigger artist

The rule of thumb I apply in assessing how I feel about good design, has always been how much I admire it. If I look at design work and think “I wish I’d done that” or ” I wish I’d thought of that”, it’s a good indicator that I feel I’m witnessing ‘good design’.

The David Hockney – A Bigger Picture exhibition, evoked those feelings entirely. It’s not often that attending an art exhibition makes me feel that but something about the Yorkshire work struck that chord.

Could it be that the subject matter felt so very familiar, or was it the use of the technology? Actually, there was something else, dare I say, it had a design feel about it. The structure of the exhibition, the layout and the story it told, were so thought out and well, – designed.

Hockney was totally in control of every detail, we’d seen the model of the exhibition, a true design technique if ever there was one, we knew he masterminded the colours of the walls and the flow the paintings, obviously drawing on his stage design skills.

The cohesive nature of the work and the clever repetition, told a story about really observing, looking past the immediate, into the depth of the view. Before actually seeing the paintings in the flesh, I had focussed on all the colours he uses, in the landscape around me – the orange ends of cut wood, the purple on the tree trunks.

I’m sure he has achieved his ambition and that is to make people see richness in the ordinary. He has a great gift and I am one who views his vibrant colours with a mix of envy and admiration but I do feel lucky to have witnessed it.