Gary Hume extends the tenets of high Modernist painting by creating flat, decorative compositions with imagery drawn from everyday life. While the subjects of his paintings are recognizable and sometimes ordinary, they are presented schematically, in silhouette form and without detail. They are always enigmatic, entirely lacking narrative or sentiment.
Hume emerged with a generation of young British artists, many of whom studied at Goldsmith’s College and were featured in Damien Hirst’s legendary Freeze exhibition in the late 1980s. This three-part exhibition was held in an abandoned warehouse in South London, but gained immediate international attention and catapulted the careers of several artists, Hume prominent among them. His contribution to the exhibition was a series of monochromatic canvases painted with high gloss enamel, resembling the swinging doors found in municipal buildings and hospitals. The artist continued to develop the door motif paintings until 1993, when he abruptly changed his painting style. Throughout the 1990s, the artist painted compositions of multi-layered images drawn from British popular culture, everyday life, and nature.