White Cube is pleased to announce ‘The Indifferent Owl’, an exhibition of new paintings and sculptures by Gary Hume.
Over the past twenty years, Hume has developed a distinctive visual language of bold, simplified forms to create paintings
that engage the viewer with their pleasantly irresolvable quality. The exhibition, his first in London for over four years, brings
together a large and varied body of new work that will occupy both the Hoxton Square and Mason’s Yard galleries.
In the ground-floor gallery at Mason’s Yard, The Indifferent Owl , a tondo painted in a disquieting mix of browns, purples
and blues, will overlook a group of paintings of flowers and plants that suggest innocence and newness, their mood a stark
contrast to the owl’s world-weary, unappeasable gaze. The ‘Paradise Paintings’ will occupy the lower-level gallery. Painted in
vast sections of creamy greens and flesh tones, this group of large-scale works depict the heads of birds, each with a beak
and an eye of deep, visceral red. While the ‘Paradise Paintings’ are recognisably pictures of birds, the forms also suggest
fragmented figures. Two smaller paintings, in starkly different colours, suggest the mother birds, each seeming to survey the
gallery with a mix of pride and nervousness.
Hume will also exhibit, for the first time, a group of new sculptures carved from Ancaster hard white limestone. The
sculptures are vertical forms reminiscent of plant buds or baby birds, while their warm, tactile surfaces are, in some cases,
augmented by two brightly coloured dots that suggest eyes.
The ground-floor gallery at Hoxton is anchored by The Playground, a large-scale landscape in black punctuated by two white
dots in the upper corners and two magenta strips in each of the lower corners. The twists and contours of climbing frames
and playground structures are visible in ridges of paint, but any sense of space is occluded by an overwhelming black surface.
Facing this painting, Six Poles depicts three girls in a row, their plaits in a mix of saturated primary and secondary colours,
staring unflinchingly into space. A single stone sculpture inhabits the gallery as a vulnerable, lone figure, while the black
portal of Elsewhere, nearby, and the tilted head of the figure in London Fields on the same wall, all contribute to an overall
mood of melancholy and dislocation.
Upstairs, Hume has filled the gallery with the fragmented arc of a rainbow, each of the seven colours granted its own form
and space, and installed as if in a dance at the upper limits of the gallery walls.
A catalogue, with an essay by Jennifer Higgie, co-editor of Frieze, will be published to accompany the exhibition. Exhibition
price £25, £30 thereafter.
Gary Hume was born in Kent in 1962 and lives and works in London and upstate New York, USA. Solo exhibitions include
São Paulo Biennale (1996), Venice Biennale (1999) Whitechapel Gallery, London (1999), the National Galleries of Scotland,
Edinburgh (1999), Fundação La Caixa, Barcelona (2000), Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (2003), Kunsthaus Bregenz
(2004), Kestnergesellschaft, Hannover (2004) and Modern Art Oxford (2008). Forthcoming exhibitions will include a solo
presentation at Pinchuk Art Centre, Kiev, 4 February --- 1 April 2012 and ‘Flashback’, (an exhibition organised by the Arts
Council Collection) Leeds Art Gallery, 5 February --- 15 April 2012 which tours to Wolverhampton Art Gallery, Aberdeen Art
Gallery and Jerwood Gallery, Hastings.