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 seven solo exhibitions: three in South Africa, three in London and one in New York and 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 (2013-2017); 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).