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Materialising the Somewhat Immaterial Aspects of Existence: Installations and Sculptures by Richard Hughes
Working with a diverse range of materials, objects and processes, Manchester-based artist Richard Hughes (born 1987) creates sculptures and installations that mainly deal with concepts of memory, time, hope, aspiration and what it generally means to be a man in the world today.
He writes on his themes: “I take my inspiration from a wide spectrum. The work I produce goes about materialising the somewhat immaterial aspects of human existence. The work is designed using intriguing juxtapositions and shifts the viewer’s perceptions to create original, emotive and engaging interaction.”
Adding: “I am interested in the idea of the ‘anti-romantic’, and how history seems so more interesting, idealised, romantic and captivating than the present, and for me, the future. I explore the idea of time, particularly in relation to memory, I am interested in our emotional relationship with memory within the new, modern and digital age.”
Richard’s pieces offer no easy interpretations. They give solidity, shape and colour to deep and complex human feelings and thoughts, and can be decoded in any number of ways. Two interesting artworks are “Friends From Here On After” and “The Easy Conclusion to The Matter Which Threatens Us”. The first consists of a collection of 12 pastel green soap bars with thin, dark worm-like tail-like protrusions. What does this mean? The unity of friendship that is occasioned by an act of mischief? The second shows a white board with the words “JUST TRY NOT TO THINK ABOUT IT” rising out of a hill of black rocks. This one is more direct—a rather humorous way of tackling worry, just empty your mind for a while, shut it down.
Recent venues where Richard has exhibited include: MarlerKunststern (Essen, Germany), Castlefield Gallery (Manchester, UK), Art Hub (London, UK), Assembly House (Leeds, UK), B&D Studios (Newcastle, UK), Kunsthal 45 (Den Helder, the Netherlands) and Scaffold Gallery (Manchester, UK).
Tim Marlow, Head of Artistic Programs and Exhibitions at the Royal Academy, has said of his art: “There’s both melancholy and humour in Richard Hughes’s work which explores (and sometimes unravels) the idea of sculpture as memorial. His work is physically engaging but intellectually subtle and quietly questioning too.”
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