A participant in the CAP arts project ‘All names known’ – Agnes Close talks to the Monthly about experiencing David Hockney’s ‘I draw, I do’ exhibition



The Monthly will be looking to introduce participants in Community Arts Partnership’s arts projects to art events that they would normally not attend and have them review the events for The Monthly.

Agnes Close is a participant in the Community Arts Partnership’s “All names known” Project. We asked her to give us her impressions of the David Hockney exhibition “I draw, I do” at The MAC.

Had you ever attended an Art exhibition before attending this exhibition?

No, this is my first exhibition

Did you know anything about David Hockney before attending this exhibition?

No. I didn’t even know his name. I had never heard of him before. I didn’t have really any expectations other than I’ll see some paintings. I didn’t even know what the paintings would be about

What did you think about the exhibition?

The first paintings I saw were of street scenes. They were very gloomy, very dark, but the more you looked, the more they revealed things…but very gloomy. Then I saw the Plates, (Rakes Progress), and I really liked them. They sort of told a story although I couldn’t quite work out what the story was but it was clear there was a story.

I really liked the style, black and white almost cartoonish and splashes of colour, reddish paint, just now and again. Then I saw a beautiful painting, a black and white painting of trees. I liked this painting immediately and I took a photo of it, it was haunting in a way, it really stood out. I thought the way the trees were painted was unique, I liked the black and white imagery and I loved the way the painting rose up on the wall.

But the painting that really caught my eye, even more than the one with the trees, was a drawing of a street scene and I was looking at it and I noticed two images near a tree across from some houses. And just as I was walking away I noticed that these images were people.

Was there anything that you didn’t warm to or didn’t like?

I didn’t like the coloured paintings of the gardens in springtime. They looked like something anyone could have put together. Some of the sketches I wasn’t too keen on. Some of them just looked odd and I couldn’t get any meaning from them even from looking at the titles. I tended to enjoy the black and white paintings more. I like the way the images make you look into them when they are in black and white, the more you look, the more you see. I couldn’t say I liked the swimming pool painting but I did like the portraits of the people which were at the end of the exhibition. I thought they were really interesting. Striking in a different way than the other paintings.

Anything which surprised you given it was your first exhibition?

I was surprised at how diverse the work was. I hadn’t thought that much about what I might see but I expected that most of what I would see would be a similar style, or using similar methods, but this exhibition offered lots of different styles and I liked that a lot.

Was there anything that made viewing less enjoyable?

I didn’t like that the information was at the side, away from the paintings. It should have been right next to each painting, I didn’t like that I had to keep going from the painting to the information and then back again.

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