South East What's On

David Hockney - Ways of Working

'Portrait of Sir David Webster' 1971, Acrylic on canvas 57 x 72'' © David Hockney Photo Credit Richard Schmidt Spanning six decades of creative output, this exhibition takes an in-depth look at David Hockney’s ingenious exploration of a diverse range of media, from painting techniques, draughtsmanship and printmaking skills, to photography, designs for the stage and the embrace of digital technologies such as the iPad, Photoshop and inkjet processes.

David Hockney: Ways of Working is the first show of its kind outside the capital for more than 20 years. Curated not only to celebrate the renowned artist, but also to delve deeper into the processes that lie behind his work, the exhibition will include photographs of Hockney seen working in his studio creating paintings, drawings, prints and photographic pieces, including several that relate to specific works on display in the exhibition. In addition, a 14-page letter that has never been seen before describes his work processes in the artist’s own words. 


David Hockney is famous for his Californian swimming pools, Polaroid photo-collages, and figurative, landscape and abstract works, all of which are highlighted in the exhibition. One of the largest sections of the exhibition is devoted to David Hockney’s methods of printmaking, from etching techniques, lithography and silkscreen, to paper pulp and coloured photo-copies. Paintings include examples of Hockney working in oil, acrylic and emulsion paint on a variety of different surfaces, dating from the 1950s to more recent works. Also on display are drawings in watercolour, coloured chalks, pencil and ink, and – merging drawing and his fascination with new technologies – digital illustrations on the iPad. 


Although best-known for his paintings and digital work, David Hockney has also won awards for his designs for the stage. Included in the exhibition are set designs from major operatic productions from Glyndebourne and the Royal Opera House, as well as a design from the Metropolitan Opera House, New York, that have not previously been exhibited. 


The artist’s highly-recognisable photographic “joiner” collages also feature in the exhibition, including a portrait of actress Theresa Russell, commissioned by cinematographer Nicolas Roeg, best-known for directing Performance (1970) and The Witches (1990), among other films. Hockney’s creation of “joiner” photo-collages was unintentional, initially used as a method of documentation pre-painting. Throughout the exhibition run, there will be a hands-on learning activity in the Main Gallery, enabling children and families to engage with the artwork. Also, as part of ‘Hockney Week’ in February half term, children are invited to contribute towards a large mosaic-style artwork, reflecting the artist’s processes. 


David Hockney: Ways of Working will be on show at The Lightbox in Woking, Surrey, from 25 January – 19 April 2020. The exhibition will be accompanied by a selection of engaging talks, tours and creative workshops. For further information please visit