Patrick Caulfield and Gary Hume
4 June – 1 September 2013
Two shows from two complementary British painters, all with one ticket.
Patrick Caulfield painted life’s little banalities with deadpan clarity. Whether it was a half-drunk glass of wine or a kitsch lampshade he used ordinary, often quite mundane, even tasteless objects to represent human aspiration and escapism. Bland wine bars and cheap bistros were depicted as modern Meccas for the ordinary citizen, as if a bottle of Beaujolais and a plate of chips could successfully transport you to the South of France.
His paintings are showing concurrently with those of Gary Hume, the Young British Artist famed for his high gloss minimal pictures poised between abstraction and representation. Executed in household paint, his subjects are eclectic, ranging from Tony Blackburn to polar bears, but all painted in candy colours, as delectable as a jar of marshmallows.
Patrick Caulfield’s early work Still Life with Dagger, 1963, made a direct reference to Caulfield’s love of the still lifes of the Cubist painter Juan Gris. A later work called Hemingway Never Ate Here, 1999, which was commissioned for the National Gallery’s Encounters exhibition, was inspired by the tourist cafés Caulfield frequented on a trip to Madrid for his son’s wedding and by the 17th-century painter Francisco de Zurbarán.