David Hockney, who once proclaimed that “new technologies change the way artists see the world,” has been embracing change since the advent of fax machines and photocopiers.
His experimentation with digital innovations continued in 2010 and 2011 during visits to Yosemite National Park with his iPad. Pace Gallery in New York currently has a collection of 29 digital drawings titled “The Yosemite Suite.”
“Everything you need is in the iPad. You don't need water or a lot of pencils, so there's no need to clean up afterwards,” Hockney said via email. “You can set up a palette very quickly and add more detail. The color is right at your fingertips.”
Hockney wanted to reproduce the vastness of Yosemite on a larger scale, so he began tinkering with his iPad drawings in 2011. The result are multi-panel landscape works that are as tall as 8 feet.
Hockney’s series is a vivid alternative to the black-and-white Yosemite of Ansel Adams' photographs.
In lively interpretations of familiar sights, a towering waterfall surrounded by soft shades of green comes with a splash of yellow and red cars in the foreground. Below spidery black branches of pine, bright pink light reflects off a forest trail.
Prior to his Yosemite series, the painter, who lives in the Hollywood Hills, produced a set of 51 iPad prints in his native England. “The Arrival of Spring in Woldgate, East Yorkshire” captured the changing seasons along 10 miles of a single-track road in the countryside.
But Yosemite and the West have long held a fascination for Hockney, 78, evident is his California cool pool paintings in the 1960s and '70s.
“It is only five-hour drive but I am amazed at how few people go there from L.A.,” Hockney said. “It’s just marvelous for me in Yosemite.”