This painting of Holyhead Station was completed in response to further reading of David Hockney’s various musings, specifically in Hockney on Art: Conversations with Paul Joyce, and A Bigger Message: Conversations with David Hockney by Martin Gayford, on the need to resist the ‘tyranny of the lens’ in painting. Shamefully, I missed Hockney’s 2012 exhibition at the Royal Academy, entitled A Bigger Picture (despite being in London at the time to view Lucien Freud’s Portraits exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery), as the queues were phenomenal!
The painting attempts to apply what I understand of Hockney’s views on the need to incorporate changing viewpoints in order to suggest the passage of time and movement (as per his quoted examples of Diego Rivera’s murals and Chinese scroll paintings), and thereby strive to break the ‘stranglehold’ of the monocular rules of perspective.
I had in mind the following two works of art:
- Van Gogh’s painting Trees in the Garden in Front of the Entrance to Saint-Paul Hospital, in which the trees truly appear to soar overhead; so much so, that it’s almost possible to see, hear and feel the breeze blowing through the upper branches when looking at it;
- Hockney’s photographic ‘joiner‘, Pearblossom Highway, in which one gets such a strong sense of looking in different directions, especially of looking ‘down’ on the flattened cans on the side of the road. (Also see interesting video here.)
It was painted with short, loose, brushstrokes in an effort to replicate Van Gogh’s style, which always remind me of iron filings in a magnetic field and always seem to suggest movement and vibration, the intention being that the brushwork reflected the passage of many thousands of feet over the platform surface, as well as the movement of light and air rebounding off the glistening surface of the roof canopy. In the end, the only static objects in the painting are the people; even the gentleman walking towards the exit seems transfixed.
It was painted from sketches carried out on site as well as with a rudimentary first attempt at making a ‘joiner’. The objects at the bottom of the picture are my feet, which I’d originally thought of including in reference to the tin cans in Pearblossom Highway…