Kusama and Hockney: Visions of Nature
Yayoi Kusama and David Hockney are legendary artists who commonly feature nature as a motif in their work. Kusama applies her spirited pattern-making to animals and garden scenes. Hockney practices patience in his skillful blending of depth and textures. With both artists, nature acts as a means to showcase their unique methods and personalities.
Originally stemming from the artist’s vivid hallucinations, Kusama’s pieces balance patterns of organized chaos with playful colors and scenes. Animals and fauna provide an interesting yet familiar base for her designs to take hold. Kusama’s nature is free-flowing, usually without reference to anywhere specific. The scenes are filtered through her imagination and kaleidoscopic lens. Realistic images are flared with personality, mixing playful iconography with abstract textures.
Hockney’s view of nature is more manicured and domesticated. Human imprints are visible in Hockney’s renderings; landscapes captured through the glass panes of a window, scenes framed by houses and other structures of civilization. Often captured with a digital lens, he’s able to zoom in to capture tiny details and easily combine different stroke sizes. Hockney frequently references seasons and exact locations, alluding to a temporal relationship he feels with nature. By painting what he sees, viewers are allowed into specific moments from his life.
There are many instances where Kusama and Hockney’s subjects intersect, including vases of flowers and pieces of fruit. How they interpret the scenes reflects their individual relationship with the natural subject. Kusama considers nature as an extension of herself, while Hockney remains a careful observer. In either case, nature acts as a neutral vessel for the artist to bring viewers into their world.