Visual Analysis of Hockneys "A Bigger Splash" and Hamiltons "Just what is it that makes todays home so different, so appealing?"

Essay by 20501797College, UndergraduateB+, September 2009

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Whilst two pieces of art can be visually entirely different in form, style and technique, it is still possible to evoke the same feeling or mood quality. This can be seen in David Hockney's 1967 piece titled A Bigger Splash and Richard Hamilton's 1956 piece titled Just What Makes Today's Homes So Different, So Appealing? A Bigger Splash reveals a Los Angeles house with a splash made by an unseen diver in a brilliant-blue swimming pool. The painting is rendered in a flat shadowless style with the intense Californian sunlight as it plays on the pool and glass of the modern Californian architecture. Just What Makes Today's Homes So Different, So Appealing? in contrast is a very busy, cluttered collage of a house inhabited by modern commercial products including the people themselves depicted as products. Both pictures very visually distinct and both generate very similar feelings and ideas of the absence of a deeper reachable essence.

Hockney establishes flatness by using a curtain motif or stage setting with the plain backdrop, lack of detail, and no variation in colour or tone on many of the surfaces, thus abolishing depth. For instance the water has no ripples made by the splash, the diving board, ground and sky do not vary in strengths of colour. No shadows exist except for marginal ones on the roof and edge of the pool, and that of the chair. The plain square boarder, framing the picture creates an awareness of the two-dimensionality of the canvas, emphasising the flatness of the canvas itself. Hockney states, "I used borders around an image a lot, from about 1964 to 1967. This wasn't just a framing device. It started off as a formal device… it seemed to me that if I cut that picture off there, it became more...