Gary Hume

Biography of Gary Hume

Commonly associated with the YBAs, English artist Gary Hume is known for his Abstract Formalist works. His paintings are characterized by bold, colorful shapes often depicted on aluminium panel and using high-gloss industrial paint. These materials reflect the light and allow Hume to turn mundane subjects into luscious and melancholically beautiful works of art. Hume uses a variety of motives including nature scenes, portraits and animals, only to then simplify their shapes and colors to a dramatic extent.


One of Gary Hume’s most famous works of art is Snowman (1996) which is composed of two red circles on a slightly lighter background. He went on to use this shape in numerous large-scale sculptures, and the snowman has become an iconic subject in his oeuvre—an apt reflection of his playful, humorous exploration of form and color.


Gary Hume received first critical acclaim when his large-scale, lustrous works were shown in the Freeze exhibition (1988), organized by fellow student Damien Hirst. Since then his work has been exhibited at the Whitechapel Gallery in London, Tate Britain, Sprüth Magers in Berlin, the Kestnergesellschaft in Hannover, and Kunsthaus Bregenz in Austria. Hume represented Great Britain in 1999 at the Venice Biennale and in 1996 he was nominated for the Turner Prize, but lost out to Douglas Gordon. He was later awarded Great Britain’s 1997 Jerwood Painting Prize and was elected a Royal Academician in 2001. Gary Hume currently lives and works in both London and Accord, New York. When discussing his work Hume adequately states: “I like to be alone and I like making still, quiet things… I like things to be simple.”

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