Image: Gary Hume, Untitled from The Sister Troop, 2009 © Gary Hume and Paragon | Contemporary Editions Ltd
Gary Hume was born in Kent, England in 1962. He studied at Liverpool Polytechnic and then Goldsmiths’ College, London where he became associated with the Young British Artists (YBAs) group in the late 1980s. In 1996 he was shortlisted for the Turner Prize and his work was shown at the Sao Paulo Biennial, Brazil. In the following year, he was awarded the Jerwood Prize for Painting and in 1999 he represented Britain at the Venice Biennale.
Hume is best known for his bright, flat, colourful paintings, produced using household gloss paint. His style features expanses of solid colour broken up with subtle, graphic details and lines through which a familiar subject or form begins to emerge. He came to prominence in the early 1990s with a series of ‘Door Paintings’ which feature simplified images of the municipal features familiar in hospitals. His subject matter has since expanded to include portraits, nudes and gardens; the portraits in particular (including the supermodel Kate Moss) demonstrate his fascination with popular culture.
The graphic quality of Hume's work lends itself to printmaking, especially screen-printing. In the portfolio The Sister Troop (2009), the iconic form of the American cheerleader is abstracted into expanses of colour against the shimmer of brushed metal. Alluding to the American dream, Hume hints at a disquiet that lies beyond the fake smiles, patriotism and perfect tans.