Unit London presents Ryan Hewett’s latest body of work, ‘Nexus,’ which is his fifth solo show with the gallery. Nexus is the natural next step for the artist, expanding on exhibitions such as H+, which considered the harmony that could exist between technology and organic forms.
Nexus takes these ideas further, exploring our increasingly interconnected and technologically advanced society by focusing on the young people navigating and embracing these changes. Hewett’s portraits highlight these ‘digital natives,’ a generation that is unlike any other in humankind’s history.
‘Nexus’ includes ten large oil paintings. Hewett no longer uses real-life models or reference points. Instead, he draws inspiration from his own imagination. Inspired by notions of transhumanism, a movement that advocates the use of technologies to augment human capability, Hewett creates fantastical yet ultramodern portraits that, nonetheless, retain their humanity. Through a visual language that hovers on the boundary between figuration and abstraction, Hewett searches for a balance between
tangibility and immateriality.
Generation Alpha is the inspiration behind this new body of work. Hewett describes himself as a portrait artist, but sees his work as being very fantasy-driven and blended with elements of science fiction. He draws upon his imagination to bring to life Generation Alpha, this generation that, Hewett feels, are unlike any previous generation in history. They are entering a world which we do not fully understand and they are still coming to terms with the impact of Artificial Intelligence.
‘You have to hope there is a better world for them, and that some aspects of AI do actually help the world.’Ryan Hewett
Ultimately, Hewett’s work creates a dialogue for the viewer to consider what the future looks like, asking Will we care about nature in the future? Will we care about the things around us in the world? Hewett hopes the next generation appreciates what is around them. ‘Nexus’ is an opportunity to imagine a more hopeful future.
Ryan Hewett, Nexus, August 30th- September 16th, Unit London
About the artist
Ryan Hewett (b. 1979) is a South African artist, currently based in Mauritius. He is renowned for his
evocative portraits that explore the inner journey of soul-searching, relying 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 colours allude to Cubist portraits and Surrealist landscapes, while
his 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 recent solo exhibitions include Asia Art Centre, Taipei, Taiwan (2023); H+, UTA Artist
Space, Los Angeles, USA (2021) and Ryan Hewett: Nothing New Under The Sun, The Goss Michael
Foundation, Dallas, Texas, USA (2019). In 2022 his works were featured in multiple group exhibitions
that include Unit London Take-over, Nassima Landau Foundation, Tel Aviv, Israel; The Armory Show,
Art Fair, Maruani Mercier, New York, USA and The Playground of Geometry, CICA Vancouver, CA.
Hewett’s work can be found in various international private and public collections, including the
Nassima Landau Foundation, Tel Aviv Israel; Amoli Foundation, Hong Kong; X Museum, Beijing,
China; Goss Michael Foundation, Dallas, USA and Fine Art Centre, Taipei, Taiwan, among others.