Born in Tenterden, Kent, in 1962, Gary Hume studied at Goldsmiths College, London. In the year of his graduation his work was included in Freeze, an exhibition organised by Damien Hirst in 1988. Hume is known for his brightly-colored, Minimalist paintings, which are usually figurative, yet highly reduced and abstracted. Hume favors bold shapes, flat planes of color, high gloss paint, and reflective surfaces. Stripping his subjects of inessentials allows him to highlight their most compelling details and to create subtle displacements and deformities that slightly disrupt the careful construction of his compositions. Simple in style, yet complex in its denial of easy interpretation, Hume's work is at once Minimalist, Surreal, Pop, and Conceptual. He says, "Art is not about absolute concrete affirmations. Art has questions and doubts and ups and downs of preference."
Hume first achieved critical acclaim in the early 1990s for his series Doors, life-sized paintings of institutional doors. His subject matter then broadened to nudes, portraits, gardens, animals, and pop culture images. Notable exhibitions include his large-scale overlapping line drawings of nudes for his series Water Paintings shown at the 1999 Venice Biennale, and his 2006 solo show Cave Paintings at White Cube, which featured marble tableaux of collaged stones set together like tectonic plates.
In 1996, Hume was nominated for the Turner Prize, but lost out to Douglas Gordon. He was later awarded Great Britain's 1997 Jerwood Painting Prize.
Hume was elected a Royal Academician in 2001. He has studios in London and New York State.