This Spring, Gow Langsford Gallery Lorne St will exhibit a new collection of paintings by Sara Hughes. Sing a Rainbow (17 September - 11 October) continues Hughes' observation and study of colour and perception. Hughes' embarks on extensive research for each body of work she produces, her paintings becoming charts and data vehicles for colour studies, which have often focused on global issues of economic growth and demise, illustrated using finance and crop harvesting models. Hughes' latest project concentrates on the development of visual systems in children and has been inspired by her young family. In the statement below Hughes' gives context to her new collection which explores a development each of us once experienced, the discovery of the world as we view it.
"I have an ongoing concern with the complexity of colour and relationships between colour in art and colour in everyday life. My upcoming exhibition Sing a Rainbow draws upon aspects of infant vision and the development of colour sensitivity and depth perception in babies, topics I have recently been influenced by from watching my two young children develop their visual systems. I have been fascinated to watch their visual world develop and expand and to notice how they respond to visual changes and detect patterns. These new paintings are influenced by seeing the world through their eyes.
Spraying paint instead of applying by brush has allowed me to touch the surface of the works lightly; the pigment flies through the air gently landing and building up fine layers. Masking and revealing has allowed me to build up contrast and gradation. The materiality was an attempt to work with the elusiveness of colour and to echo Walter Benjamin's sentiment from his writing on 'A Child's View of Colour'.....that colour is "a winged creature that flits from one form to the next."
Sing a Rainbow written for the 1955 film Pete Kelly's Blues in which it is sung by Peggy Lee. The tune is now synonymous with children and learning colours, even though the colours in the lyrics are not all in the rainbow. The deceptively simple words of the song allude to a more than optical and meteorological phenomenon and it is this elusive quality I hope to catch in my works.
These new works are deeply personal and the exhibition resonates with the time I have spent watching and learning from my two young sons over the past three years."
Sara Hughes' practice has attracted significant attention throughout Australasia, winning both the Wallace Art Award and the Norsewear Art Award in 2005, whilst in 2008 she was the first New Zealand recipient ofThe RIPE: Art and Australia magazine Art Award. She has been selected to participate in a number of notable residencies including the International Studio and Curatorial Program, New York, in 2007; and Creative New Zealand's Berlin Visual Artists Residency at the Kunstlerhaus Bethanien between 2008 and 2009. Hughes' paintings and installations are held in many important Australasian public and private collections, including the Chartwell Collection, Auckland City Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki; Dunedin Public Art Gallery; Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongawera, Wellington; National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; Monash University, Melbourne; and the University of Auckland Art Collection.
Hughes completed an MFA in painting in 2001 from Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland. Her work has been published widely appearing in international art and architecture magazines including Art in America, Artlink, Art in Australia and Monument. Hughes has also undertaken a number of high profile public commissions, including a temporary installation entitled Heat Wave at Federation Square, Melbourne, in 2010. In 2013/14 she completed two large-scale permanent works for the ANZ lobby in Auckland, as well as a series of striking outdoor works for the re-opening of Cathedral Square in the centre of Christchurch. A new publication on the artist's public works will coincide with this exhibition.
Read T.J McNamara's NZ Herald Review here.