Thursday, July 28, 2011

Bigger Trees Near Warter (2)

A while back I posted on the monumental David Hockney painting Bigger Trees Near Warter which was on display at York Art Gallery. Well, it's on tour, and it's now at my local gallery, the Ferens in Hull.

It's remarkable how different it looks in this location. The painting is made up 50 different canvases, all painted en plein and placed together into one giant landscape, depicting a stand of trees near Warter, a small place not too far from here. In York, the fifty were displayed along one massive wall in a straight line. That gave an impression of massive size. It was quite an overwhelming experience.

At Hull, they didn't have a wall long enough to accommodate all paintings in a straight line of ten by eight panels. So what they've done is to turn the last two columns on either side at 45 degrees. The difference is amazing. It loses some of its massive size, some of that overwhelming sense of awe you feel in front of the York hanging. But, instead, you get an extraordinary feeling of involvement. It's like the painting is wrapping itself around you. It's as though you are actually standing in a clearing, with all these trees around you.

I don't know which I prefer. There are pros and cons for each. But I do find it amazing how different the experience is depending on the way the painting is hung.

Go and visit. It's well worth it.

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