London: Gary Hume ‘The Indifferent Owl’ At White Cube Gallery through February 25, 2012

February 21st, 2012

Gary Hume, The Indifferent Owl (2011). All images courtesy of White Cube.

Gary Hume returns to London for his first exhibition in the city in four years with The Indifferent Owl at White Cube Gallery. Occupying both the Mason’s Yard and Hoxton Square locations, Hume presents a collection of paintings and sculpture that shows off his streamlined aesthetic. With a muted palette and naturalistic subject matter—representations of birds and flora are dominant—The Indifferent Owl is a study in subtlety.

Exhibition view

Leaves in Gray (2011)

“Over the past twenty years,” states the exhibition’s description, “Hume has developed a distinctive visual language of bold, simplified forms to create paintings that engage the viewer with their pleasantly irresolvable quality.” Hume’s use of gloss paint on aluminum makes his work almost glow; if one didn’t know better, his paintings could easily be mistaken for stained glass. Often times Hume captures only a portion of his subject—a bird’s head or plant’s leaf. The magnified, fragmented image contrasts the pleasant colors and shapes to create that seemingly “irresolvable quality.”

Exhibition view

In the Mason’s Yard lower level gallery, Hume presents a series of Paradise Paintings. These portraits of bold, color-blocked birds circumnavigate the gallery, creating a ring around a group of new sculptures carved from Ancaster hard white limestone, with names such as Bud and Baby Bird.

Gary Hume, Baby Bird (2011)

Hume’s work, with its large blocks of color and unbroken lines, is reminiscent of a coloring book; one that someone has taken special care to fill in. But his art maintains an elegant simplicity—the relative lack of detail and large swaths of color are graceful and soothing, never cartoonish.

Bad Tooth (2011)

Estuary (2011)

Migration (2011)

– A. Stone

Related Links:

Exhibition Site [The Indifferent Owl]
Gallery Site [White Cube]
Artist Site [Gary Hume]
Gary Hume’s The Indifferent Owl Nests in London [The Guardian]
Gary Hume: The Indifferent Owl, White Cube Hoxton Square & Mason’s Yard [Telegraph]
Slideshow: See Artwork From Gary Hume’s “The Indifferent Owl” Exhibit At White Cube [Art Info]