New York

Gary Hume

Matthew Marks Gallery

It is a rare, bracing pleasure to see a bunch of canvases that look as if they had some reason to get up in the morning. The six geometric paintings in this exhibition, Gary Hume’s first solo show in New York, are smart, physically unself-conscious, and direct. Hume, who is 29 and English, uses enamel lacquer paint, and he applies it as if with great, smooth, slurping, dog-tongue licks. He also defines the sharp edges of his vibrant rectangles of color with foam-tape, producing what might be described as a Precisionist’s wet look. These paintings are funny, Ostensibly abstract, each work is actually a depiction of a door, and this fundamental pun—so dumbly matter-of-fact and yet so quirkily manifold as to suggest a veritable picaresque of architectonic postures, thresholds to be transgressed, potential assignations, and abandoned cartes de visite—steers straight into the comédie humaine.

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