The Wick List

Viewing David Hockney: The Arrival of Spring, Normandy, 2020

How better to reopen than with a joyful celebration of spring? After a bleak, lockdown winter, the Royal Academy is showing a series of new Hockney iPad ‘paintings’ that capture the unfolding and progression of spring last year at his rural home in Normandy.

Hockney created each of the 116 works (printed on large-scale paper for this show) using a bespoke version of the Brushes app. A restless experimenter, Hockney values the mobility and versality of the iPad, a medium which he first explored back in 2010, as it enables him to work rapidly, day or night en plein air, without needing cumbersome equipment.

Presented chronologically, the works chart the drama of seasonal change, from bare winter trees, via buds, to abundant blossoms and leaves. In each, his hand is clearly evident. ‘All the time I was getting better at my mark making on the screen,’ he says, ‘eventually doing, à la Monet, the water lilies in the pond.’

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