This month I have an article in Toronto Life that looks at David Hockney’s ipad paintings. To my mind these works look like glorified iPhone wallpaper but since the artist has a history of working with technology, maybe they will get better. The teaser below.
David Hockney's Fresh Flowers exhibition has been touring Europe in advance of its only Canadian stop, at the ROM's Institute for Contemporary Culture, and garnering a lot of hype along the lines of “74-year-old visionary explores cool new medium!” The show consists of hundreds of flower-themed still lifes done exclusively on iPads and iPhones. (Hockney added his own spin, saying that working with the Apple devices allows him to paint without the “mess”—which sounds as though he's promoting a cleaning product.)
This could be seen as familiar territory for the British pop art pioneer. In the '80s, his use of office-quality photocopies, fax machines and Polaroids put him at the forefront of art about the tension between original works and reproductions. The kind of heavy collage pieces he created by manipulating original work is now a regular sight in modern art galleries. (Today, the subject of reproduction couldn't be more relevant to the copy-and-paste practices of young artists, though Hockney's influence is cited far less often than you'd expect.)
In embracing the iPad as an art-making device, Hockney is showing again that he is an early adopter of new technology, but this time the results aren't likely to influence anyone.
To read the full piece click here.