"My artwork represents a longstanding belief in the possibility of translating human experience and feeling through the raw materials of painting. For quite some time I have been probing an artistic vein in which naturalistic forms shape-shift inside an abstract color space. The figuration is rooted in the human body, and more specifically, the links between brain and viscera. The physicality of working large allows the body to override the brain; only then does the door open to serendipity. When successful, the imagery and the materials combine to create a psychological and emotional charge with the viewer.


I don’t think of myself as a figurative painter, and yet figuration clearly looms large in these paintings. Indeed, this body of work belongs to an ongoing series titled “Twisted Figures”, a play on both the literal meaning of twisted (coiled, torqued, wrung) and the non-literal (warped, unstable, abnormal). I’m not interested in narratives, but I am interested in the potential for metaphor. I think of these paintings as of the body and embodiments of… They are very physical in their making, visceral in appearance, and suggest a figure under intense stress, embattled, and thus very much of our world."

- Ian Hughes  (artist statement)


Ian Hughes’ paintings probe an artistic vein in which naturalistic forms shape-shift on top of a flat color-space.  He explores the psychological and emotional link between the brain and the viscera, forming a kind of connective tissue with the viewer.  Fluid, intertwining, and semi-transparent forms exude a bodily presence while suggesting a tangle of shifting associations. Hughes seduces with sensuous textures and a luscious palette of chromatic pinks, yellows and turquoise blues modulated by pearl whites and carbon blacks.  For Hughes, the color field is a stage on which to choreograph a visual and psychological drama.

Hughes’ work has appeared in numerous group shows in New York City, including featured exhibitions at The Drawing Center (Selections 31) and a White Room exhibit at White Columns (1991) curated by Bill Arning. In 1998, Artists’ Space featured three large Hughes paintings in an exhibition celebrating its 25th Anniversary and curated by Irving Sandler, Founder, and Claudia Gould, Director. Hughes received his B.A. in 1981 from Yale College, where he also attended the Yale Summer School of Art at Norfolk, CT, and his MFA in 1984 from Columbia University School of Art.  He was selected for a solo booth in the 2012 inaugural edition of UNTITLED: Miami, curated by Omar Lopez-Chahoud.  Hughes lives and works in New York City.

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