Gary Hume


Gary Hume (born 1962) is a contemporary English artist, best know for his striking figurative and abstract paintings on aluminium panels with the use of household paint. 

Born in Tenterden, Kent, he worked as an assistant film editor before giving it up in the 1980s to concentrate on art. He graduated from Goldsmiths College in 1988 and was part of the Freeze exhibition curated by Damien Hirst which brought together many of the artists subsequently promoted by Charles Saatchi as the Young British Artists.

Hume's earliest notable works were his door paintings, life-size representations of hospital doors. These proved a critical success, being shown in Germany and the United States, as well as attracting the attention of collector Charles Saatchi, who bought some of them. Hume's work was included in the 1997 Sensation exhibition, a controversial touring show of Saatchi's collection which visited London, Berlin and New York.

Hume abandoned doors in the early 1990s, turning to paintings in gloss paint on aluminium. These often appropriate images from the media, including pictures of celebrities (e.g. DJ Tony Blackburn) and animals. Their forms and colours are dramatically simplified, with people being reduced to just two or three colours. Snowman (1996), for example, is made up of three shades of red, showing a circle on top of a larger circle against a lighter background. At first, Hume used mainly bright colours, but later pieces have used more muted tones.

He represented Britain at the 1999 Venice Biennale, where he showed his Water series, a number of superimposed line drawings of women (again, these were gloss paint on aluminium).

Hume was nominated for the Turner Prize in 1996. In 2001 he was made a Royal Academician, to some surprise, given the Academy's perceived policy of admitting only older artists.