Sara Hughes’ exhibition title 23 Hours and 56 minutes refers to the time it takes the Earth to complete a 360-degree rotation on its own axis. Consequent to this rotation in time, light shifts from day to night. It is the enigmatic qualities of these changes that Hughes endeavours to capture in each painting.
These are lightscapes not landscapes, and because they include time, process is the implied subject. Made explicit in the layering of transparent glazes, the swoop of brushstrokes, the floating blazes of colour… Looking inwards she considers how light forms images in the artist’s mind, recalls scenes from her childhood, re-experiences that sense of curiosity and exploration. She too travels through time and this process is called memory.Ann Poulsen, ‘Colour Arcadia Recent works by Sara Hughes’, Art New Zealand, no 172, 2020
“I recall as a child wanting to know where light came from and trying to resist the urge to look at the sun – along with the first time I realized that without light there is no colour. These new works meld personal experience with scientific reference. I combine materials and ways of painting – fast and slow to echo the passing of a day. For centuries, painters have tried to capture the elusive effects of light in their canvases. These works continue in this tradition with layer over layer of transparent glaze in an attempt to capture light and make visible its flow of photons.” – Sara Hughes, 2022.
All My Favourite Shapes, Dunedin Public Art Gallery, Dunedin, 2019; Willow, Tauranga Art Gallery, Tauranga, 2017; Everything Goes, Sutton Gallery, Melbourne, 2016; Sing a Rainbow Too, Sutton Gallery, Melbourne, 2015; Sing a Rainbow, Gow Langsford Gallery, Auckland, 2014; The Golden Grain, Govett Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth, 2011; For Kultur, Hawkes Bay Museum and Art Gallery, Napier, 2010; Heat Wave, Federation Square, Melbourne, 2010; Feedback Runaway, Kunstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, 2009; Flower House, Te Manawa Art Gallery, Palmerston North, 2007.
Out of the ordinary, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 2017; Grid/Colour/Plane, Malcolm Smith Gallery, Howick, 2017; Undreamed of…50 Years of the Frances Hodgkins Fellowship, Dunedin Public Art Gallery, Dunedin, 2016; Making Sense, Whakatane Museum, Whakatane, 2015; As Many Structures As I Can, New Dowse Museum, Lower Hutt, 2013; Flight, Kunstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, 2012; Peaking the Edge, Plus Gallery, Denver, 2011; Business and Pleasure 2, ISCP, New York, 2007.Artist’s profile