Happiest of solar returns to English artist Gary Hume! The celebrated Kent-born painter and printmaker came to Earth on 9 May 1962, first rose to fame with many of the other Young British Artists (those wild and wacky YBA’s) after completing his studies at Goldsmiths in 1988 and now deservedly enjoys the RA of a royal academician after his surname.
His style is distinctive; flat and unflinching, laid bare but always bringing questions with it. A stilted taste for representation and the use of decisively simple outlines generally allow viewers to somewhat comfortably align Hume’s work with a sense of person, place, pattern or thing. Though the figurative often tousles with abstraction centre stage as fat blocks of thick-looking pigments, audacious colour contrasts and stretched out or zoomed-in perspectives knock the gaze askance.
Hume has also frequently dabbled with reflective media, like extra glossy interior paint and aluminum panels, to fasten onlookers tightly to the fore and background of his slightly alien compositions.
Working between normalcy and the the never before seen, glad to let clashing hues and stark delineations duke it out at his focal points and intent on launching us straight into the middle of it all, Hume has come to occupy his own art historical sphere. Layers of Minimalism, Pop and Conceptual Art, Expressionism and even Art Nouveau seem stacked up and thinly rolled out at the foundation of his aesthetic.
All this, plus sightings at the Venice Biennial and lots of top institutions, makes Hume an exciting artist to keep tabs on. Until we see which absurdly familiar imagery he intends to explore next, take a look at some of his earlier works that made a splash while on display at the Saatchi Gallery.