Benzyloxyurea is a woodcut print from Damien Hirst’s 40 Woodcut Spots series from 2011. The vertically-oriented print shows five rows of spots that are identical in size and shape, each depicting a unique colour. Across the artist’s vast oeuvre every spot painting represents a unique combination of colours. The 40 Woodcut Spots series is an exploration of colour and form that is distinctly Hirstian.
Hirst has said of these works, “To create that structure, to do those colours, and do nothing. I suddenly got what I wanted. It was just a way of pinning down the joy of colour.” This series is representative of the spot paintings that constitute some of Hirst’s most recognisable works. There are over 1000 spot paintings in existence, dating from 1988 to 2011.
Integral to the impact of the spot paintings is its endlessness and infinite potential towards many various colour combinations. This print is almost mathematical in its formulaic composition that is repeated across the series, with grids of various sizes. In the 1980s, the spot paintings marked a shift in Hirst’s artistic career, where he began to employ assistants to complete the painstaking and laborious task of producing these works. The apparent lack of human intervention in these works further emphasises the mathematical precision that underlines their compositions.