With this new print, Hume refers to the artists of Western Europe at the turn of the nineteenth century whose work was influenced by the Japanese woodblock wrapping papers used to protect porcelain and other goods shipped over from the East. He sums up the piece as “two roses with a lilac area of disappointment”.
The traditional and labour-intensive Ukiyo-e process involves cutting shina-ply wood blocks with Japanese chisels and moistening them with water and rice paste. Ink is then dabbed on and a maru-bake horse hair brush mixes it together. The handmade washi thin rice paper, which is made of 100% kozo fibre, a relation of hemp, and which has previously been dampened, is registered to the block and laid onto the inked surface. A paper disk, or baren, burnishes the paper to the block, printing the coloured ink into the paper. The inks are created directly from the pigments: Cadmium Red Light, Cadmium Red Medium, Cadmium Yellow Light, Pencil Clay and Ultramarine Violet, printed in that order and several times over to build colour intensity and luminosity.
English artist Gary Hume (b.1962) graduated from Goldsmith’s College, London, in 1988. He was part of Damien Hirst’s 1988 Freeze exhibition now considered to be the launch of the Young British Artists. He currently lives and works in London and upstate New York.
Departing from his ‘door paintings’ Hume started making small-scale gloss paintings on aluminium, using images from the media, celebrities and animals. His bright palette and 2-D surfaces describe simplified forms often describing pop culture and child hood idioms.
Solo exhibitions include Cave Paintings, White Cube, London, 2006; baby Birds and Things That Are Left Behind, Galleries Lorcan O’ Neill, Rome, 2008 and Door Paintings, Modern Art, Oxford, 2008, while recent group exhibitions include Aftershock: Contemporary British Art 1990-2006, Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou, China, 2006; Demons, Yarns and Tales: Tapestries by Contemporary Artists, The Dairy, London, UK, 2008 and Art Is For The Spirit: From the UBS Art Collection, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan, 2008.
Photo: Georgie Hopton