Artist biography

English painter, draughtsman and printmaker. Hume emerged as one of the leading figures of the group of young artists working in London in the 1990s. His glossy, popular imagery captured and defined a zeitgeist, at a time when the art scene was becoming increasingly professionalised and implicated with the popular media. After graduating from Goldsmiths College, London, in 1988, he achieved early success with paintings based on hospital doors, rendered with gloss on panel and displayed in groups of four. These works had an international appeal. Despite their success, Hume abandoned the formal manoeuvering of the door series in the early 1990s, in favour of a simple, flatly coloured representational style drawing on a broad pool of popular and prosaic subject-matter. Hume's own admission of the superficial role of such subject-matter points to the role of figurative imagery as a stimulant to his primary preoccupations of structure, surface and colour. The concentration on both literal and metaphoric surface was augmented by the change from panel to aluminium support effected in the mid 1990s, at which point he began to focus, in his own words, on ‘flora, fauna and portraiture'. While paintings such as the disarmingly touching portrait of Francis Bacon, Francis (1997; priv. col., see 1999–2000 exh. cat.), show an indebtedness to pop-art overstatement, othersdemonstrate an affinity with the more introverted painting of Patrick Caulfield. Hume was shortlisted for the Turner prize in 1996 and represented Britain at the 48th Venice Biennale in 1999.

Bibliography
Gary Hume: Paintings (exh. cat., Berne, Ksthalle; London, ICA, 1995)
Gary Hume (exh. cat., essay by F. Bonami; Maastricht, Bonnefantenmus., 1996)
Turner Prize 1996 (exh. cat., essay by V. Button; London, Tate, 1996)
Fiona Rae Gary Hume (exh. cat., essay by S. Kent; London, Saatchi Col., 1997)
Gary Hume (exh. cat., essays by D. Batchelor and A. Searle; London, Whitechapel A.G., 1999–2000)

JOHN-PAUL STONARD
10 December 2001

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