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Signed Print Edition of 50
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Celine Fraser, Acquisition Coordinator
Extending February (diptych) is a signed screen print by David Hockney, released in 1990 in an edition of 50. Favouring exuberant juxtaposition of colours and abstract forms over an imposing subject matter associated with diptychs, Extending February exemplifies Hockney’s playful dialogue with tradition through a time-honoured art form. Diptychs typically consist of two plates joined together by hinges, which allow one to close the artwork and protect the internal painting. Having originated in mediaeval times, the format carries strong sacral associations given its role in designating a central place for worship in the altars of Christian churches.
Given the dominating presence of snake-like forms in the print, Extending February invokes Hockney’s earlier work Jungle Boy (1964). Depicting a nude man looking at a large snake, the early print was inspired by Hockney’s friendship with Mark Berger, an artist from New Orleans who kept pet snakes in his California studio. Here, the juxtaposition of dark purple and turquoise connects with Hockney’s vibrant representations of Los Angeles studio interiors while the undulating, snake-like forms spread across the bottom of the image, endowing it with an air of mysteriousness. The print creates a visually arresting world out of abstract forms and very restricted colour palette. A yet another proof of Hockney’s versatility as an artist, the print attests to the effortlessness with which the artist handled and changed the printmaking media.