Ryan Hewett’s debut solo exhibition was presented by Barnard Gallery in April 2013 and sold out within days of it opening to the public; his second solo show followed suite with similar success in 2014. After solo presentations in New York and California the artist held his first one-man show in London in April 2015; the exhibition was a resounding success and the demand for his portraits continues to grow.
With oils laid in such thick layers as to become sculptural, Ryan Hewett’s figures project beyond the picture plane and into our space, confronting the viewer with an arresting energy and charisma. While the artist predominantly paints faces, his work operates beyond and beside portraiture, seeking to achieve more than simple resemblance. Rather, Hewett undertakes an engagement with subjectivity that is played out on the very surface of the canvas and through the materiality and movement of the paint itself. While earlier work was characterized by an intense, all-over painterly approach, Hewett’s more recent work sees the artist exploring a more reductive style; contrasting areas of his signature heavy impasto with more subdued areas of flat colour and clean lines.
To date Hewett has presented three solo exhibitions in South Africa, one in New York and 2 in London. The demand for his paintings continues to grow steadily both locally and abroad. He has participated in group exhibitions in many major cities including amongst others Berlin, London, Paris, Sydney, Hong Kong and New York and his paintings have been presented at various art fairs including SCOPE Miami (2013-2014); FNB Joburg Art Fair (2013-2014); Cape Town Art Fair (2013-2018); Fountain Art Fair, Chicago (2014); Sydney Contemporary (2015); LA Art Show (2015); Art Central Hong Kong (2016); Volta NY (2017) and AKAA (Also Known As Africa), Paris (2017).
According to writer, curator and art critic Edward Lucie-Smith, Hewett’s pictures “appear on the painted surface in the form of extraordinary apparitions, present yet not present. The vigorous marks of the brush reveal them, yet at the same time conceal them”.