Saturday, 12 February 2011


Bigger Trees Near Warter - image taken from the York Art Gallery
David Hockney is considered as being one of Britain's most renowned of artists. Working since the 1950s, through pop art up to the present day his images and work have questioned, pushed; and challenged the boundaries of acceptable art alongside pop culture and more increasingly natural life. 

His (semi) recent work is a series of landscapes around East Yorkshire. It's a quiet little unknown spot in the world, rather forgotten behind its fellow Yorkshire siblings of north and south Yorkshire, but it holds a quiet beauty that's rarely known to the outside world. And now, thanks to Hockney it'll be known to a few more. Hockney himself has been quoted as stating East Yorkshire as having "the sorts of wide vistas you get all the time in the American west" and it's the first time this work has been shown outside of London.

Being a lass from East Yorkshire, and a country gal at that, I thought i'd pop along and have a little looksee while I was in York today shopping. 

Its not until your stood right before it that you see what the talk is all about. The piece measure 12 x 4.5 metres, this statistic doesn't give credit to how large it actually is until your stood before it, its so large the little daffodils on the floor of the piece seem pretty much size sized, and the huge trees tower over you. Comprising of fifty individual panels joined together it captures a countryside  hanging on the eve of spring between Malton and Diffield - if your an insider to East Yorkshire it was painted by the turn off for Millington (the village where I first lived) and Warter. Its the greens and the use of trees and how they tag along the side of the road with the farm yard buildings creeping in that make it very much East Yorkshire-like. It's very much my landscape that I get just out of town. Even the colours alone make it right. 

Landscapes began inspiring Hockney since the 1990s while living in California, but it is through his repeated visits back to his native Yorkshire and swapping the sunshine state for life in Bridlington, did Hockney began capturing a naturalistic version of the landscapes around him. Especially of trees - tree's Hockney considers to be much like people - always different.

It's a shame none of the other images of these collection of Hockney's East Yorkshire landscapes where showing alongside this one. It somewhat isolates it, hanging slightly out of context of its wider landscape. It would have been the perfectly opportunity to showcase Hockney's contemporary work to a new, younger audience alongside those who know his older pop works and introduce a modern take on landscapes and of East Yorkshire. Nevertheless Bigger Trees at Warter is large enough literally and figuratively to hang alone.

You can see Bigger Trees at Warter till June 2011 at York Art Gallery.


  1. I adore Hockney's work. This piece is in Hull next (it maybe even there now?)where I can't wait to experience it in person x