|(Beverly Hills, CA – December 2, 2021) UTA Artist Space and Unit London are excited to announce a solo exhibition of new works by South African artist Ryan Hewett, on view at UTA Artist Space in Los Angeles from December 7 – 18, 2021.
A natural progression from his previous exhibitions, Hewett’s latest solo show is entitled H+. Standing for human advancement, H+ explores the ideas and philosophies of trans-humanism. As a social and ideological movement, trans-humanism is devoted to advocating the research and development of human advancement technologies. H+ seeks to represent visually how these technologies might augment human sensory reception, emotional ability and cognitive capacity, leading to radical improvements in human health and extended lifespans. In line with these concepts, Hewett’s exhibition presents a series of hybridized portraits, figurative works and landscapes that hover on the boundary between the human and what the artist defines as the humanoid. In this sense, H+ uncovers the juxtaposition between the natural environment we live in and a possible futuristic society.
On a formal level, H+ demonstrates Hewett’s progressing artistic practice, which is equally hybrid in nature, combining textured and fluid brushwork with taut geometric shapes and lines. Certain pieces, such as H1, H2, and H3, are born completely from his imagination. However, in some instances, Hewett turns to archives of images and photographic aids for inspiration, using many different references from multiple sources to create his artworks. As a result, each piece becomes an amalgam or a composite that unfolds intuitively onto the canvas without preconceived ideas or planning. It seems that the artist’s own artistic process mirrors the concepts that have inspired H+. Hewett’s fluid and unpredictable imagination fuses with the use of tangible photographic sources. Free and expressive brushstrokes contrast with rigid forms. In this sense, H+ blends the natural, organic and the unplanned with something altogether more detailed, orderly and meticulous.
In juxtaposing these natural forms with geometric contours and straight lines, Hewett symbolizes a trans-humanist outlook, which seeks to advance human life through technological means. At times, his futuristic and imagined characters are inserted into the natural world, with organic forms, such as clouded skies or fluid congregations of expressive brushwork, appearing as the backdrops of these artworks. At others, these figures sit in front of tightly wrought geometric backgrounds. As such, Hewett seeks to underline the harmony that could exist between the technological and the organic. Equally, H+ emphasizes that we ultimately cannot know what the future holds and how this concept of trans-humanism might unfold in our day-to-day lives. In this sense, Hewett’s exhibition begins to explore how the natural world could balance against man-made technologies and how human beings might be able to live with humanoids.
“Ryan is one of the most sought-after artists working right now, especially here in Los Angeles where he has many dedicated collectors. We are incredibly excited to work with Unit London to show Ryan’s newest paintings; it is a rare opportunity for us to see the extraordinary, innate talent he possesses,” said Arthur Lewis, UTA Fine Arts Creative Director.
ABOUT RYAN HEWETT
Born in 1979 and described by critic and curator Edward Lucie-Smith as ‘one of South Africa’s most distinguished painters today’, Ryan Hewett is renowned for his brooding and evocative paintings. Yet his portraits are not about capturing an external likeness of a subject, but rather creating a portal to the inner journey of self-exploration. In so doing, the artist relies principally on the intuitive processes of memory and imagination.
Using a variety of oil painting techniques, from brushes to knives, Hewett’s extensive knowledge draws on renowned movements within art history. His structured forms and psychedelic colors allude to Cubist portraits and Surrealist landscapes, while his body-length portraits recall Renaissance medical diagrams of the human anatomy.
Hewett has exhibited extensively in art fairs, group and solo exhibitions in major cities around the world. His most recent institutional exhibition took place at The Goss Michael Foundation in Dallas in 2019. His work can be found in various international private and public collections, including the Goss Michael Foundation, Fine Art Centre, Taiwan, The Recharge Foundation, Emergentes Art Foundation and the Dean Collection, to name a few.
ABOUT UTA ARTIST SPACE
UTA Artist Space is an exhibition venue designed by Ai Weiwei in the heart of Beverly Hills that is committed to showcasing art by globally recognized talent. Since its establishment in 2016, UTA Artist Space has presented notable exhibitions with interdisciplinary artists and creatives, including Derrick Adams, Myrtis Bedolla of Galerie Myrtis, Jake and Dinos Chapman, Essence Harden, Larry Clark, Petra Cortright, Conrad Egyir, Amanda Hunt, Mariane Ibrahim, Arcmanoro Niles, The Carpenter’s Workshop Gallery, The Haas Brothers, and Ai Weiwei, among others. UTAArtistSpace.com.
ABOUT UNIT LONDON
Since the brand’s inception in 2013, Unit London has established a global artistic platform for the world’s most distinctive emerging talent. In an often opaque and impenetrable art world, Unit London seeks to identify, cultivate, and expose works of art on a purely meritocratic basis. The gallery has successfully launched and advanced the careers of numerous important contemporary artists and remains a bastion of equity, innovation, and sustainability. Unit London prides itself on being an open and transparent institution whose purpose is to expand and diversify contemporary art audiences. In its reluctance to simply follow the traditional gallery formula, Unit London has become synonymous with the pioneering use of social media and digital marketing. The gallery endeavors to act as an orator and mediator: telling the story of today’s most gifted artists, whilst bridging the gap between the physical and virtual spheres of the art world; connecting people with the art they love.
All visitors will have to acknowledge both the health and safety guidelines and their health status before they visit. All visitors must wear a mask at all times. Masks and hand sanitizer will be available on site for guest usage. Guests must practice social distancing. There is ample signage throughout the space including arrows on the floor that tell guests which way foot traffic is flowing. Restrooms will be closed to guests and the Artist Space will be deep cleaned on a regular schedule following the close of business each day.
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