Renowned for his brooding and evocative paintings, Ryan Hewett’s fascination with portraiture does not focus on the external likeness of a subject; but rather an inner journey of self-exploration and expression.
The fragmented segments present in Ryan’s works dissect forms and faces to a point of abstraction, resulting in an aesthetic that is both joyous, through the vibrancy of the colour palette, and simultaneously unnerving, due to the exposed figures he reveals.
Hewett’s application of oil paint (knives, brushes and paint rollers) and bold colour fields are such that the thick, textural layers become almost sculptural, causing his figures to project beyond the picture plane, directly confronting us with arresting energy and haunting sharpness.
While he predominantly paints faces, his latest collection of works highlight his move towards the portrayal of bodies, and the captivating essence that figurative forms can hold. You can see his new artworks in a new exhibition, New Paintings, at Unit London this month.
On show from 20 June until 13 July, these latest paintings draw on the South African Cape Town-based artist’s captivation with vibrant and abstract portraits, alongside a developing interest and representation of figurative anatomy through distinctive shapes and concentric circles.
Ryan Hewett, La Femme I, 2019
Ryan Hewett, Skin and Petals I, 2019
Ryan Hewett, Belle, 2019
Ryan Hewett in his studio, 2019