Review: Patrick Caulfield & Gary Hume – Tate Britain

They are for easy reading

Their work is shown in separate galleries. There are similarities in the use of materials like gloss paint, solid plane colours, the graphic style but that is about it.

They connect to a period of graphic art that had established itself as the way to brand, sell products to the masses. Hard edges, textual symbols, simple advertising campaigns. They ask nothing. Using gloss paint as a reference to the everyday appropriating colour from the household. They represent a late period in pop art.

They are popular with many people and its easy to understand because they use graphic design concepts that make them easy to read without much need to read between the lines or think for oneself.

I suspect Patrick Caulfield liked to read comic books as his paintings are very similar. A strong emphasis on the lines, simple single colours with little tone or layering. I am not really moved by his work but there is a lot more context and simple references to the past. Objects in still life used by contemporary society, the environments from inside a building and outside.

Places of holidays, the home and restaurants one might have entertained in ones own life. They could be postcards. Then there are patterns of wallpaper or wood that are used sparingly and seem linked to 60′s or 70′s. A period of his own life giving a retro feeling.

Gary Hume’s paintings are more abstract with figurative references in the work on show. Although one can say that they are paintings the gloss colours are single layered tones and are flat. They do not really make one feel involved. The lines are not so prominent so the colours become juxtapositions to each other they change the dynamic. The image becomes more obscure but at the same time they are recognizable. They hint but share nothing.

I don’t really associate any interest in these exhibitions. Some people I suspect would as they offer something of themselves or of times one may have forgotten about. As they do stir memories of the past but are instant then gone.

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