david hockney 25 trees and other pictures at salts mill

9 November 2012 § 1 Comment

Saltaire in Shipley, West Yorkshire is a remarkable place. It is effectively an entire community created by social-minded mill owner, Sir Titus Salt, around his thriving woollen mill including shops, schools, church, hospital, alms houses and an institute (but no pub!). Completely preserved and still a lived-in and thriving community it has been declared a UNESCO world-heritage site. Its pretty streets have trendy corner shops and for a quick break there are cultured coffee-shops.At its heart stands the vast Salts Mill, a small part of which has been given over to an arts centre and gallery complete with shops, cafe and restaurant. It is here that I dropped in last week to see the current David Hockney exhibition en route to the East Yorkshire wolds – or should I say ‘Hockney Country’ as it is effectively now known.

Salts Mill is a wonderfully atmospheric space which, as you would expect, clearly shows its industrial heritage.  Solid stone stairs lead to stone-paved halls with giant iron beams and red brick walls. Arts, crafts, books, antiques and home furnishings are sold in open plan areas. All very airy and relaxing.

On the top floor is the excellent, if modest in scope, Hockney exhibition. In a darkened area three screens rotate his pleasant, if undemanding, ipad drawings (note to self – I MUST buy that Brushes app and have a go myself…).  Along two other walls are excellent, more worked-up ipad portraits which recall earlier Hockney portraits in oils. Simple lines and bright colours with an impeccable eye for pattern and colour make these simple works highly appealing.

On another wall three twenty-seven foot long photographic panoramas show Bessingby Road in Bridlington in three seasons. I suspect the fourth is missing due to height restrictions of the gallery walls! Interesting but hardly impressive, although this work is of course more about ‘looking’ and observation than art.

Two portrait shaped acrylics of local landscapes make up this neat little exhibition. It is probably only worth a special visit for the ultimate Hockney enthusiast but the experience of Salts Mill and Saltaire village make this a delightful detour or day trip for anyone in the area.

The exhibition is on 10.30 to 4 Wednesday to Sunday and is free of charge. There is no published end date that I can find. Please check at their excellent website!

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