A Delightful Exhibition of David Hockney’s iPad Drawings From Normandy Offer a Welcome Hint of Spring

“Hockney in Normandy” at Gray New York presents recent works made by the preeminent English artist while quarantining in the French countryside.

David Hockney, No Fire (2020). Courtesy of Gray New York.
David Hockney, In Front of the House (2019). Courtesy the artist and Gray, Chicago/New York. (c) David Hockney.

Like many artists over the past year, David Hockney has been enjoying the delights of country living—and drawing it too. The artist, who is 83, has spent the past few years with his dog, Ruby, at his home and studio in Normandy, which he purchased after marveling at the region’s colorful blossoms and fruit trees during a three-day vacation there.

Lately, the artist has been drawing on his iPad. Hockney first took up drawing on his iPhone in 2009 and then moved on to the tablet when it was first released later that same year. 

“There was great advantage in this medium because it’s backlit and I could draw in the dark. I didn’t ever have to get out of bed,” Hockney wrote of his method in My Window, a book of iPad drawings that was published in January 2020. 

David Hockney, Fire (2020). Courtesy of Gray New York.

David Hockney, Fire (2020). Courtesy the artist and Gray, Chicago/New York. (c) David Hockney.

Now, a series of the artist’s colorful new drawings are on view at Gray New York, in “Hockney in Normandy,” the artist’s 11th solo exhibition with the gallery. For those of us still mired in our urban existences, the show offers a dazzling escape and a window into the intimate interior spaces of Hockney’s home, and the lush beauty of the surrounding countryside. 

Throughout his career, Hockney has warmly embraced technology and the perspectives it can offer. In some senses, the iPad drawings can be seen as a continuation of his photographic and Polaroid photo collage works from the 1980s.  

David Hockney, No Fire (2020). Courtesy of Gray New York.

David Hockney, No Fire (2020). Courtesy the artist and Gray, Chicago/New York. (c) David Hockney.

As we enter the late weeks of winter, these drawings are also a reminder of Hockney’s celebration of spring, which he has maintained throughout his years living between Los Angeles and Yorkshire. Along with the iPad drawings, the exhibition also presents a suite of landscape prints made from original ink on paper drawings. 

“In 2019, while familiarizing himself with the surroundings of his studio in Normandy—a 17th-century building with thick timber, red shingles, a reflecting pond, and plenty of blooming brush—Hockney set out with ink and concertina sketchbooks which would result in a series of works on paper depicting the idyllic countryside that surrounded him,” wrote the gallery of the drawings. 

See images of “Hockey in Normandy” below. 

David Hockney, Beuvron-en-Auge Panorama (2019). Courtesy of Gray New York.

David Hockney, Beuvron-en-Auge Panorama (2019). Courtesy the artist and Gray, Chicago/New York. (c) David Hockney.

David Hockney, In Front of House Looking North (2019). Courtesy of Gray New York.

David Hockney, In Front of House Looking North (2019). Courtesy the artist and Gray, Chicago/New York. (c) David Hockney.

David Hockney, Ruby Dreaming (2019). Courtesy of Gray New York.

David Hockney, Ruby Dreaming (2019). Courtesy the artist and Gray, Chicago/New York. (c) David Hockney.

Hockney in Normandy” will be on view at Gray New York by appointment, Monday through Friday, 11 a.m.— 5 p.m., through March 19, 2021. To explore the exhibition online, visit Gray Viewing Rooms.


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