February 29, 2012

I think David Hockney is wrong about this...

“Look at that basket of fruit by Chardin over there on the left [top], and now at the same subject by Cezanne… Chardin’s version, for all its indisputable mastery and beauty, feels far away; it’s a picture of fruit at the far end of an optical remove, receding into the picture, whereas Cezanne’s… feels right up close; those apples feel close at hand, they feel present to hand, they come out to us. That’s what you can achieve when you break from the tyranny of the optical.” [David Hockney, quoted in Weschler, p.184]

I like Hockney a lot. And I certainly don't know what paintings he was referring to when he made the above comment. But given his argument [that Chardin is subject to the "tyranny of the optical"] it shouldn't matter which painting it was. Hockney's saying that Chardin's paintings all work in a way that removes us from the subject, whereas Cezanne sees and therefore paints in away that brings the subject close---makes it present.

I like Hockney's argument, but I can't see it and so I have to say, I think he's wrong. What do you think?

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These studio notes are scraps of poetry and ideas that feed my work as a painter. I hope they establish a bit of context for the paintings and my intention in making them. Whatever I paint, I’m trying to create some space for us to sit with the questions that are not meant to be answered.