David Hockney

U.S. b. 1937
The Grand Canyon Looking North, September 1982 86.0014

The Grand Canyon Looking North is an example of Hockney's photowork, a medium that uses for its primary imagery, photography, in some manipulated form. Here Hockney has created an elaborate image based on the method of collage, using photographs of a specific site arranged to resemble the very experience of looking as it occurs across time. Hockney believes that this sort of "picture" comes closer to how we actually see-not all-at-once but in discreet, separate glimpses. Taking dozens of pictures of a site using the camera's lens to zoom in for details, Hockney built up the collage without cropping any of the photographs, forming a sort of window. These photowork projects, to Hockney, are meant to reveal the way in which photography falsifies the experience of looking. As he explains, everything we look at is in focus as we look at it. The actual size of the zone the eye can hold in focus at any given moment is relatively small in relation to the wider visual field, but the eye is always moving through that field, and the focal point of view, though moving, is always clear. The experience of this kind of looking is preserved in collages where each frame is in focus and comprises about as much of the field as the eye can hold in focus in real time. Hockney's many talents-as a printmaker, painter, draftsman, photographer, and set designer-garnered him international success by the time he was in his late 20s. Now recognized as the most critically-acclaimed British artist of his generation, Hockney has, for the past two decades, concentrated on American landscapes and topography, particularly scenes in California, where he settled in 1976, after teaching at universities in Ames (Iowa), Boulder (Colorado), and Berkeley (California).




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