You can safely ignore Brian Sewell's peevish review of Hockney at the RA. It's a fantastic show, a tour of remarkable force. A force of nature, offering more separate full-scale works, surely, than a single artist has ever exhibited in such a show. And what scale ! "Bigger Picture" hardly does it justice.
It is certainly possible to see Hockney (post-portraiture) as a one-trick pony, and that trick is depth: artful, profound and utterly compelling. Depth contrived in a dozen different ways; simple ways, conventional ways, unconventional ways; unsubtle ways, subtle ways. Ways depending on his excellent draughtsmanship; ways depending on tone alone. Ways, paths, lanes, roads, tracks. Depth showing how it can be achieved using the limited methods of Van Gogh; how it should have been achieved by Seurat, Pissaro and Picasso. Depth delivered in so many different ways that Hockney must rank as a serious contributor to the psychology of human visual perception.
He is of course also a great (not to say gaudy) colourist. And he uses colour for more than just stunning effect: in the show there is a neat juxtaposition of a landscape where the distance is given in green, the foreground in red, against another where the colour-roles are reversed. Yet both are wholly representational, figurative, realistic.
His deployment of still photography is well-known: I was less familiar with his work using multiple moving images (all of a piece, just as the stills, with his experiments in perception and representation). His use of the iPad doesn't seem to move anything forward but I'm sure he has fun. His very considerable skill in charcoal is a revelation (and a neat rebuff to Sewell).
And the wall-full of hawthorn blossom is a delight.
A fantastic show.