I first became aware of Gary Hume’s paintings at the Saatchi Sensation show of young British artists at the Royal Academy. While Damien Hirst shocked the public with his pickled shark, Hume’s work was much more subtle but no less important.
The White Cube gallery that represents him describes Hume as follows:
Gary Hume is renowned for paintings distinguished by a bright palette, reduced imagery and flat areas of seductive colour. While Hume’s paintings have always emphasised their luscious surfaces and simplified forms, many are infused with a melancholic beauty.
Hume first received critical acclaim with a body of work known as the ‘Door’ paintings. These minimal and abstract works, with their high gloss paint and insistent reflective surfaces, developed in the early 1990s into a broader set of motifs, such as the nude, the portrait, the garden, as well as a pictorial idiom drawn from childhood, with images of polar bears, snowmen, rabbits, owls and close-up faces. His subject matter broadened yet more through the mid 1990s to incorporate images from popular culture, making portraits of celebrity figures such as Tony Blackburn, Kate Moss and Patsy Kensit.