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Modern and Contemporary Art

Biography for Gary Hume

Hume was born in 1962 in Tenterden, Kent. He graduated from Goldsmiths College in 1988. His work was included in both Freeze, an exhibition organized by Damien Hirst in 1988, and East Country Yard, a warehouse exhibition organized by Henry Bond and Sarah Lucas in 1990.

Hume’s earliest notable works are 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. Hume’s work was included in the 1995 exhibition Brilliant!, a showcase of work by YBA artists. In 1997, his work was included in Sensation, a touring show of the Charles Saatchi art collection at the Royal Academy, London.

Hume abandoned doors in the mid-1990s, turning to paintings in household gloss paint on aluminium panel, for these often used appropriated images, including pictures of celebrities 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.

In 1996, Hume was nominated for the Turner Prize, but lost out to Douglas Gordon. Hume was elected a Royal Academician in 2001.

Hume represented Great 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).