Christine Jones

David Hockney’s ‘The Arrival of Spring’ at the Royal Academy of Arts

David Hockney is considered one of the most influential British artists of the twentieth century and at the age of eighty-three years old. He is exhibiting his most recent work – one hundred and sixteen iPad ‘paintings’ depicting The Arrival of Spring – at The Royal Academy, Main Galleries, until the 26 September this year.

Opening exactly a year after the works were made during the global pandemic when he settled in Northern France, his latest exhibition reveals a new muse: Normandy. Hockney purchased a quaint house circled by four acres of blossom trees and natural beauty, and with Ruby, his dog, by his side, we see how Hockney is propelled ever forward by his sense of wonder. The unfolding of spring is captured on his iPad so distinctly; Hockney demonstrates this evolvement with clean, bright colours, full of optimism and in praise of the natural world. 

In Gallery Two, we see a cherry tree painted with the word ‘Cheery’, his first instinctive reaction which accompanies his personal motto, ‘love life’, then quickly drawn over by a stroke deleting the ‘r’, much like a schoolteacher rectifying a students’ spelling mistake: ‘Cherry’ it now unchangeably reads. 

These works are enlarged and printed far greater than the screen on which they were created, allowing you to see each mark, stroke and empty space, which somehow leaves you feeling off-balance. Shapes float and blur indistinctly and I find I have to look at something nearby to refocus my eye. Hockney is no doubt a master, clearly a trailblazer and inquisitor, who is onto something not fully known by the layman. Yet one realises his discoveries are going to be such a noticeably big part of our lives in the future, but as of right now I sit and ponder the notion of owning my very own painting by the world’s most expensive living artist, David Hockney. I may need to invest.

Review by Christine Jones.

For more information and tickets to the exhibition, click here.

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