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FROM THIS EPISODE

When David Hockney started spending more time in his native Yorkshire after 2005, he began painting the landscape in all its seasons. These pictures have been acclaimed by critics, including me, as a burst of brilliance from a mature artist. Hockney is so skilled at drawing and painting that it did not seem like good news to hear that he had turned his attentions to the iPad. The artist has a lengthy history of embracing technology including the Polaroid camera, photocopier and fax machine. As of 2009, he started iPhone drawings, then iPad drawings and now paintings. His early iPad drawings and paintings were sketchy, a bit rudimentary, more in keeping with what one might expect from a high tech Etch-a-sketch. Still, his iArt found its way into his lavish retrospective at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art last year and now the iPad paintings are here at L.A. Louver Gallery through August 29.

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David Hockney
The Arrival of Spring in Woldgate, East Yorkshire in 2011 (twenty eleven) - 2 January, 2011
iPad drawing printed on four sheets of paper, mounted on four sheets of Dibond
each panel: 46 1/2 x 35 in. (118.1 x 88.9 cm) overall: 93 x 70 in. (236.2 x 177.8 cm)
framed: 96 1/4 x 73 x 3 in. (244.5 x 185.4 x 7.6 cm)

Upon entering the gallery to see The Arrival of Spring Part 1 of 3, my first impression is confusion. Could these complicated compositions in such subtle if bright colors be produced by the Brushes app? That is indeed the case. There are pastoral scenes from Woldgate of emerald-leaved trees, moss-covered branches and empty paths curving along, offering kaleidoscopic reflections after the rain. They do not display the sharpy edge of most electronically generated imagery. The red-bordered triangular sign warning of passing equestrians has a slightly rough execution as of a hand-painted daub while roadside flowers spring and coil with unpremeditated abandon. Many are printed in editions of 25 on single sheets that measure some four and a half by three and a half feet while the giant prints are 12 feet tall and almost 6 feet wide in editions of 10, achieved by combining four sheets together.

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David Hockney
The Arrival of Spring in Woldgate, East Yorkshire in 2011 (twenty eleven) - 14 April, 2011
iPad drawing printed on four sheets of paper, mounted on four sheets of Dibond
each panel: 46 1/2 x 35 in. (118.1 x 88.9 cm) overall: 93 x 70 in. (236.2 x 177.8 cm)
framed: 96 1/4 x 73 x 3 in. (244.5 x 185.4 x 7.6 cm)

Hockney has always felt a little trapped by his own outsized talent. Using new technologies forces upon him a new attentiveness, a new way of coming to terms with the most traditional of subject matter, landscapes or portraits. Are the iPad paintings as captivating as his drawings, watercolors or paintings? Probably not. Are they exceptional on their own terms? I’d say yes.

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David Hockney
The Arrival of Spring in Woldgate, East Yorkshire in 2011 (twenty eleven) - 30 May, 2011
iPad drawing printed on four sheets of paper, mounted on four sheets of Dibond
each panel: 46 1/2 x 35 in. (118.1 x 88.9 cm) overall: 93 x 70 in. (236.2 x 177.8 cm)
framed: 96 1/4 x 73 x 3 in. (244.5 x 185.4 x 7.6 cm)

In the upstairs gallery, there are some sassy small sculptures by Mark di Suvero along with some brushy ink drawings. We are used to seeing his work on a monumental scale such as the piece currently on loan on Venice Beach. Yet, on this smaller scale, you can take in the contrast of the stainless and the raw, rusty steel, the way the segments of an individual sculpture are balanced to display gentle movement.

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Mark di Suvero
Incantation, 2004
stainless steel, steel, titanium
25 1/2 x 32 x 15 in. [65 x 81 x 38 cm]

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Mark di Suvero
Incantation, 2004
stainless steel, steel, titanium
25 1/2 x 32 x 15 in. [65 x 81 x 38 cm]

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Mark di Suvero
Incantation, 2004
stainless steel, steel, titanium
25 1/2 x 32 x 15 in. [65 x 81 x 38 cm]

Hockney turned 77 yesterday, July 9, while di Suvero is now 80. Both shows reveal the longevity of great talent. For more information go to lalouver.com.

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David Hockney (L) and Mark di Suvero (R)

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