|David Hockney: Three Trees near Thixendale, Winter 2007|
Afterwards I went to the Royal Academy to see the David Hockney RA: A Bigger Picture exhibition. This is mostly an extraordinary celebration of the artist's recent burst of work exploring the landscape, trees and woodlands of East Yorkshire, his native county, though he came from the West Riding. In his youth he attended a youth group run by my grandfather in Bradford and designed posters to advertise its meetings: alas, being ephemeral, they were torn down and not kept. I suspect that in later years, when he moved to California and turned his attention to naked youth cavorting in swimming pools, he would have earned grandpaternal disapproval, but I suspect these loving - if sometimes psychedelic - views of Yorkshire would have overturned that.
Hugh Johnson told me that the exhibition was 'life-changing' and in his Trad's Diary entry for 23 January he makes the point that with this work Hockney is observing 'humdrum' nature in a non-spectacular landscape, and bringing it very strikingly to urban eyes; "an old man with the eyes of a child is making nature mainstream." This is a big, powerful set of work: it needs time to digest and I must get back to see it again before it closes - and I recommend it very strongly to anyone in reach of Piccadilly.