That artist is David Hockney. Born in England in 1937, Hockney originally came to notice for his use of hundreds of Polaroid shots of a single scene, collaged together like little snippets of memory to create an overall mural of sizable proportions. His photomontage entitled Pearblossom Highway 11-18th April 1986 is some 78" wide and 111" long. The effect is that of a glimmering mosaic featuring a desolate desert highway where cactus compete with road signs in decorating the landscape. More recently, he has dabbled in everything from acrylic painting to set designs for such productions as Die Frau Ohne Schatten for the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in 1992. Still more recently, he created a nine-minute stage set performance piece in which colored lights were the actors.
His MOST recent endeavor arrived from England for an exhibit at the National Museum of American Art in Washington with the paint still wet. Some twenty-four-foot-long in what is termed an "almost realistic" style, it is entitled A Bigger Grand Canyon. The work is a sequel to the twenty-two-foot-long, computer-driven abstract work he presented last year. Somewhat like his Polaroid montages, this work is comprised of sixty separate canvases, mounted into a single grid 24 feet long and 7 feet tall. The painting had it's genesis back in 1982 when Hockney photographed the Grand Canyon using his off-the-shelf Polaroid camera to create a preliminary work from which he has painted. The work took three months to complete with Hockney working at times on individual canvases and at other times on the work as a whole. The Exhibit will be on view in Washington through September 7, whereupon it will travel to the L.A. Louver Gallery in Venice, California.