Portrait by Gary Hume, Screenprint, 1998
Pink Orchid by Gary Hume, gloss paint on aluminium , 1999
I still remember having to sit down to weep the first time I walked through the MOMA, because I was able to see so many of the works that, until then, I had only seen in books. Working in relative isolation has its benefits no doubt, but whenever I do the Grand Tour I spend as much time in museums and galleries as my lower back –or husband– can take. (Looking up at enough big art can hurt!) I still have a long list of artists whose work I would love to see first hand. Gary Hume is one of these. This is an age of so much cold, conceptual, “ironic” sameness, the culture highpoint of which includes paintings made from bodily fluids and poop. (My mother proudly announced to the world in the comment book at my first solo show that I was doing this long before Chris Ofili. She enthusiastically recollected how I stood in the crib and –in a sweeping gesture– wiped my diaper over the wall: “It was so dramatic. I was quite moved. I knew you were meant to be an artist then and there. ” Hindsight and a mother’s love are wonderful things. But I digress… where was I? Oh yes….) Gary Hume’s paintings are a thing of genuine beauty. More than decorative, there is a sensitivity to material, a spirit, and an integrity in his work. Also, an openess and freedom I adore.