Seeing the Wider Picture

Screen Shot 2015-02-12 at 18.32.00 Source of image

I have been following David Hockney’s work since the 1960s and this week I saw a film which wonderfully captured his work and life and brought back so many memories for me; the sort of memories that people usually associate with music. This Guardian article provides good coverage of the contents of the film and this video clip provides a flavour of the film

In such a rich life, there is much that I could comment on, but anyone who knows Hockney’s work, will know that in addition to drawing and painting he is also interested in the role of technology in his work, using the ipad for drawing, and photography and film for seeing the world differently.

Near the end of the documentary film that I went to see this week, they showed his film work in which he has simultaneously used 9 cameras to film the changing seasons of a Yorkshire landscape.

I first saw this at his exhibition at the Royal Academy in 2012. What struck me in the documentary film I have seen this week, was that Hockney said that historically paintings have sought to take our eyes inwards, into the painting, using perspective and the well known vanishing point. But in this film he suggested that perhaps, rather than looking inwards, we should be looking more broadly and outwards, to the sides, above and below, as he does with the 9 cameras.

This seemed to me to resonate with Iain McGilchrist’s work on trying to understand the relationship between the left and right hemispheres of the brain – in his book the The Master and his Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World.

The two hemispheres have different ways of attending to the world and produce different realities (p.176). The right hemisphere is the hemisphere of broad vigilant attention, of seeing the whole picture; the left hemisphere is the hemisphere of focused attention, just seeing what it expects to see (p.163).

It struck me in watching the film that throughout his work Hockney has been trying to make us see differently; in other words, to make more use of our right brains.

I wonder what that means for writing.

Update 20-09-17

I have been contacted by Jenna at Artsy to let me know about two upcoming Hockney exhibitions and to point me to their David Hockney page which features Hockney’s bio, over 400 of his works, exclusive articles, and up-to-date Hockney exhibition listings. This is a great resource for anyone interested in Hockney’s work.

The two upcoming exhibitions are at the Metropolitan Museum of Art which is scheduled to showcase David Hockney. Hockney will also be featured in the upcoming exhibition David Hockney: 82 Portraits and a Still Life at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao

Thank you Jenna at Artsy 🙂

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