Friday, 21 June 2013

Caulfield & Hume

Tate Britain's two current ticket exhibitions, before the eagerly anticipated LS Lowry show that opens next week, display the work of two complimentary artists. The late Patrick Caulfield and contemporary artist Gary Hume both use areas of bold flat colours in their paintings, so this may be one of the reasons that the galley have put them side by side with one ticket for both. This though encourages other comparisons, with Caulfield's work normally coming out on top.

Window at Night (1969) (oil paint on canvas), Patrick Caulfield
Personally I prefer the simpler of Caulfield's work, where he may just use four colours on a canvas. Examples of this include Window at Night (above) and Dining Recess (below). In both of these paintings he uses light well, so that parts of each work stands out and other parts sit back.


Dining Recess (1972) (acrylic paint on canvas), Patrick Caulfield

After Lunch (1975) (oil paint on canvas), Patrick Caulfield
I like Caulfield's excellent use of colour and the contrast he can create by painting small parts of a painting in an incredibly detailed photo-realist style. This obviously then stands out from the flat colour and sharp clean lines that are more typical of him. A classic and famous example of this is the view of the landscape from the window in After Lunch (above).
I feel that this is less successful when paintings become to busy with too much going on in them and with too many different colours used. Dining/Kitchen/Living (below), with its photo-realist casserole dish, is an example of this.

Dining/Kitchen/Living (1980) (acrylic paint on canvas), Patrick Caulfield
Caulfield later sometimes returned to a simpler colour scheme, which I feel works better. Bishops (below) does this, again with a photo-realist detail in the form of the beautifully painted door handles.

Bishops (2004) (acrylic paint on canvas) Patrick Caulfield
One of the YBA's to graduate from Goldsmiths in the late 1980's, Gary Hume's work often combines flat area's of colour with a sparing use of line painted onto aluminium.

Blackbird (1988) (gloss paint on aluminium), Gary Hume
The only paintings in this exhibition that stood out for me, were the more representational Blackbird (above) and the interesting Beautiful (below). The latter was one of those artworks where its not until you get close to it before the details reveal themselves under the flat layer of pink paint. The darker part you can see from a distance (and in this photo) is Michael Jackson's nostrils, the lines that appear in the pink close up are the outlines of Kate Moss' face!

Beautiful (2002) (gloss paint on aluminium), Gary Hume