Sunday, May 25, 2014

Myself and my hero

Incredibly, it's 60 years since David Hockney made his first print, the lithograph Self Portrait, 1954 at Bradford College of Art. (It's reproduced on the poster pictured above).

London's Dulwich Picture Gallery recently celebrated this significant anniversary with a survey exhibition focusing entirely on Hockney's printmaking practice. Better still, it coincided with my visit to the UK in April. Hockney's prints, for example, his suites the Rake's Progress, 1961-63 and Six Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm, 1969, have had a considerable impact on my work since I saw my first examples in London in the 1970s. 

David Hockney, A Rake's Progress, 1961-63, a suite of etchings

The former work was primarily responsible for fostering an interest in developing narratives by working serially using literary or other sources as a basis, and incorporating autobiographical elements. For example, The Threepenny Opera, 1928 by Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill was a springboard for The Pirate Jenny Prints, 1986-87.  

Deborah Klein, Pirate Jenny at Luna Park, 1986, linocut, 61.5 x 45.5 cm. From
The Pirate Jenny Prints, 1986-87 

And my little seen, most overtly personal work, the Alice in the Cities suite of woodcuts, 1989, took Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass as its point of departure. Like Hockney’s Rake, my protagonist was literally an innocent abroad. To see a handful of the Alice in the Cities prints, click HERE and scroll down. 

Hockney Printmaker was superb. It included many other personal favourites:

My partner Shane Jones contemplates Hockney's etchings The Student - Homage to Picasso, 
and Artist and Model, both 1973. Dulwich Picture Gallery, London, April 2014.

The exhibition opened with another of my favourite prints, Myself and my heroes, 1961. David Hockney will always be one of mine. 

David Hockney, Myself and my heroes, 1961, etching
The exhibition concluded on 11 May. You can read about it in the UK Guardian HERE.