Ornis A. Gallery proudly hosts the solo exhibition ‘Big Intimates’ by American artist Shara Hughes (Atlanta, 1981). The work she made for this show is a little smaller than she is used to. This show will be the first time Hughes makes an entire show of smaller works. Hughes does not restrict herself to working with either abstract or representational forms. She likes to flip between the two, aiming at attaining a constant interaction of the two, thereby mutually informing one another. In her use of colour, however, abstraction and deformation seem to play a major role.
Her works are best described as hallucinating or psychedelic landscapes. The landscapes she paints originate from her own imagination, thereby forming the start for the creation of fictional time and space on canvas. The painted landscapes are not “real” (in the sense that they are physically existing places, so to speak) for they only exist in the mind of the artist. The title of her Feb 2016 show at Marlborough Chelsea was called ‘Trips I’ve Never Been On’; the trips Hughes invites us to are trips that take us to specific states of mind.
The use of color in Shara’s work obviously plays an important role in the definition of her work, for it creates this characteristic dreamlike, expressionist, cinematic or narrative-like panoramic views. The colors Hughes chooses are very intuitive. From painting to painting, she tries to makes sure the palette is different. Hughes considers color very important because it has the ability to set a certain mood without having to spell it out with subject matter. Specifically with landscapes, light is very important according to Hughes, for it sets the time of the day. She is interested in being able to stretch this idea from what we normally think. For example, making a nocturnal scene with
pastels, or darker colors to describe morning or afternoon.
Another recurring element in her work is the peep-through perspective or the framework in the painting itself. This calls attention to paintings just being framed experiences of illusions. Furthermore, Hughes likes the idea of telling the viewers where they stand. When we look at her work, we always have to look through some sort of frame or window in order to enter a new or unfamiliar reality: the artist’s imagination or psyche. Another component of this aim is that Hughes plays with all sorts of perspectives. She makes clear that she is the artist and that she makes deliberate choices concerning the use of color and space; she is in charge when it comes to shaping new realities. Fore- and background as well as consciousness and unconsciousness seem to merge, creating illusionistic shapes and spaces and testing the truthfulness of our perception.