Sunday, January 21, 2018

Special "event" screening alert: Phil Grabsky's art-and-artists documentaries to open at various venues (see final Personal Appearances paragraph below)

Fans of popular British artist David Hockney (there are many of these worldwide) will not want to miss the new documentary, DAVID HOCKNEY AT THE ROYAL ACADEMY OF ARTS, which pretty much brings us up to date on the work of this 80-year-old-but-still-going-strong artist, tackling especially his most recent shows at the Royal Academy of Arts in London. The 80-minute film, directed with sprightliness and the expected visual flair by noted documentarian, Phil Grabsky, is a most pleasurable and easy-going treat that concentrates almost totally on Mr. Hockney's art, unlike other Hockney films seen over the past decades -- A Bigger Splash (from 1973) and Hockney (2014), to name but two of many that journey into his life and private life, as well.

Mr. Grabsky, shown at right, offers up reams of examples of later Hockney art, along with talking-head interviews with art critics/authors who fill us in on the importance of Hockney and his art.

As one of these experts points out, Hockney (shown below and at bottom) was one of the most important artists who helped bring figurative art back into prominence, after the ascendance and too-long reign of the non-figurative stuff we used to call "modern art." As usual we see, again and again here, this man's great gift for color and composition, along with his own special skill in producing art that seems at once improvised and yet distilled into a kind of near-perfect resolution.

Another critic notes Hockney's combination of honesty, bravery and willingness to continually experiment -- "I don't mind boring others, but I'm not gonna bore myself! --  while yet another critic notices some early paintings whose subject matter seems "darker" than the usual Hockey work. "No," the artist corrects him. "I just used cheap paint." He was both younger and poorer back then, and the cheap paint used has led the canvas to darken over time.

The movie is full of Hockney's vaunted honesty, intelligence and wit. Mostly, though, it's full of his more recent art -- which is as beautiful and as much fun as ever. We learn that a good friend, who was dying at the time, brought Hockney back to England and then to painting landscapes once again. How much more lush are his British landscapes, as compare to his work in the dryer and more arid Southern California scenes (even with that Bigger Splash in the picture)!

We see an entire room full of his series, The Arrival of Spring in Woldgate, and also learn how and why he has begun to divide his painting via grids. Eventually we see the remarkable series of portraits shown at the Royal Academy of Art entitled 82 Portraits and One Still Life that it must have been museum-heaven to experience live.

We also learn more of his technique -- we see the quick charcoal drawing that first appears, followed by the fill-in of detail and color -- and finally get a sense of what might come next in the career of this continually busy and productive artist.

From Exhibition on Screen and running just 80 minutes, David Hockney at the Royal Academy of Arts is playing now at various venues around the country. To find the city and screen nearest you, simply click here and follow directions. (In South Florida, the film will screen at The Society of the Four Arts in Palm Beach on Sunday, February 18.)

Personal Appearances!
Director Phil Grabsky will be in USA this coming week (March 25 through April 1) to host a tour of exclusive Q&As for a selection of EXHIBITION ON SCREEN films – starting with the up-coming release in the US: Cezanne – Portraits of a Life.  Below are links to each of several appearances around the country, including here in Boca Raton.

Sunday 25 March, National Gallery of Art Washington, Cézanne – Portraits of a Life 

Monday 26 March, Avalon Theatre, Washington DC, Canaletto & the Art of Venice – at The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace

Tuesday 27 March, MOVIELAND BOULEVARD SQUARE, Bow-Tie Cinemas, Richmond Cézanne – Portraits of a Life

Wednesday 28th March, Paramount Theatre, Charlottesville Cézanne – Portraits of a Life

Thursday 29 March, A/perture Cinema, Winston-Salem The Artist's Garden: American Impressionism 

Saturday 31 March, Society of Four Arts, Palm Beach, I, Claude Monet

Saturday 31 March, Living Room Theaters, Boca Raton I, Claude Monet 

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