Gary Hume (b1962) is a leading figure among the young artists who studied at London’s Goldsmiths College in the late 1980s. From 5 June this year, Tate Britain will present an exhibition highlighting Hume’s innovative use of colour, line and surface over the last twenty years. Featuring both iconic and less familiar paintings and sculpture, the show will also include new work and international loans that have not been seen in the UK before.
The exhibition will run parallel to a survey of celebrated painter Patrick Caulfield (1936-2005), offering visitors the chance to see alongside each other two complementary British painters from different generations. Hume first received critical acclaim in the early 1990s with his large-scale paintings based on hospital doors boldly rendered in high gloss paint. These were first exhibited in the 1988 Freeze exhibition organised by Hume’s fellow student Damien Hirst, which introduced the internationally celebrated group of ‘Young British Artists’.
This early focus evolved over subsequent decades to encompass a range of subjects: figures such as mothers and babies, friends and celebrities, as well as images drawn from nature or childhood including flowers, birds and snowmen. Through this varied set of motifs, Hume explores the full spectrum of emotional response from wonder and joy to melancholy and loss. Conventional ideas of beauty are frequently countered by a darker, more questioning sense of the world.
The exhibition will bring together twenty-four striking works in which recognisable forms are sometimes fragmented to near abstraction. The original source image may be left far behind as shapes emerge in the paintings through vibrant areas of colour, whilst lines are articulated as thin ridges of paint that disrupt the surface and the eye. Highlights include iconic early works such as Tony Blackburn 1993, and Blackbird 1998 as well as major recent paintings such as Red Barn Door 2008, recently acquired by Tate with assistance from the Art Fund.
Gary Hume was born in Kent in 1962 and now lives and works in London and upstate New York, USA. He studied at Liverpool Polytechnic and later Goldsmiths and within a year of his graduation in 1988 his work was being exhibited internationally. Since then it has been seen in solo and important group exhibitions around the world including The Bird has a Yellow Beak, Kunsthaus Bregenz, 2004; Door Paintings, Modern Art Oxford, 2008; Gary Hume: Flashback, Leeds Art Gallery, 2012 and Beauty, Pinchuk Art Centre, Kiev. Gary Hume was nominated for the Turner Prize in 1996, represented Great Britain in the Venice Biennale in 1999 and in 2001was elected a Royal Academician.