Gary Hume, Back of a Snowman

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Gary Hume

2005

Back of a Snowman, by British painter and sculptor Gary Hume, is a 10-foot-tall, half-ton sculpture, cast in bronze and covered in white enamel. A graduate from the prestigious Goldsmith’s College of Art in London, Hume is one of a generation of artists that became known around the world as the Young British Artists (YBA). Evocative of the high-impact imagery of Pop art, Hume’s visual vocabulary combines simplified, childlike textures and forms.
Hume’s characteristic playfulness is first apparent in the sculpture’s title, which suggests a distinction between the subject’s front and back. In fact, all viewpoints of Back of a Snowman are identical, faceless rounded orbs that are simultaneously both abstract and figural. Alluding to this model symmetry, Hume described the work as “the perfect sculpture, viewable from all sides, immaculate from all angles.” The artist’s sense of whimsy is further infused into Back of a Snowman through his choice of materials: durable bronze and plastic-like enamel to contrast with ephemeral, organic snow.
Completing the striking tableau in paradoxes is the Snowman’s location in a tropical oasis, surrounded by palm trees and under the melting South Florida sun.

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