*Please note due to COVID-19 lockdowns in Auckland, dates are subject to change.
Hughes is among the most accomplished mid-career painters operating in New Zealand today.
Julian McKinnon, Art News Winter 2017
I am fascinated by the measuring of time and light, the way our day is structured by the sun and our orbit, how light changes during this rotation from day to night and all the variants in between.With periods of lockdowns and restrictions over the past 18 months I have felt such daily rhythms more intently. Time seemed to slow down as my physical boundaries became smaller, my neighbourhood a radius, with home being the centre point. As my life reduced, the speed of the passing of time stayed the same, but my relationship to it changed. I wanted to capture the minutest moment, the millisecond it takes the eyelid to blink and for a shift in light and colour to occur. With no vistas to view or travel to take, my mind wandered between the mundane park at the end of my street and blurry recollections of landscapes and open space.
I want the paintings to capture these enigmatic qualities. The titles record a sequence of encoded information, the date and time of a moment imprinted onto my memory. Like a rubber stamp that records the beginning and end of a working day, the postmark on a letter or a digital timestamp on a photograph. This series of paintings echo’s the marking of time and my desire to capture colour and light information from my environment.
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 realised that without light there is no colour. 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 ensnare light and make visible its flow of photons.
- Sara Hughes, Artist Statement, September 2021