|The Cradle - Gary Hume|
“If I can't see regret in a painting, then I think it's less than truthful.”
Gary Hume is an artist whose idea of perfect beauty is truth, no matter how awkward the truth may be. With high-gloss household paint, he makes enigmatic portraits and still lifes in which identifying characteristics have been re-focused, reproportioned, or removed altogether.
Yearning is always present in Hume's work, a reaching out to grasp some elemental quality of sex, death, or a woman. The melancholia is candy-colored, but the candy here is inedible, its dirty pastels grinding off acid yellows and prosthetic limb flesh tones.
In a survey of the artist's work over the last 20 years currently showing at the Tate Britain, the model Kate Moss is boiled down to a bas-relief of her eyes rendered in calamine lotion pink, with singer Michael Jackson's surgery-mutilated nose plopped on top. The German Chancellor Angela Merkel becomes a sea foam-colored head with a lemon chin. Outlines of naked women reflect the viewer's face in their creamy, sensual sheen.
|Angela Merkel - Gary Hume|
Hume celebrates the ordinary and casts a forensic eye over small details of the subjects that fascinate him. The results are knowingly naïve paintings and sculptures that seduce with wrong colors and disarm with tenderness.
|Hume's Tulips on a special June edition of UK Bazaar|
I interviewed Hume for a BBC Radio 6 Music segment called "Three Minute Epiphany". He's a winsome storyteller who speaks entertainingly about his relationship to his work. You can listen to it here.
Gary Hume will be on at Tate Britain 5 June - 1 September