Shara Hughes.

“I’m constantly changing my space and thats why i love it.  Anyone who walks into the loft can tell exactly what kind of person I am.  I live in my paintings.  I always tell people there is really no separation between the canvas, the paint, the brush, and myself.  This aligns with my ideas about where the lines are between abstraction and reality that I address in the work.  Although not one painting is the same as the next, I really see no difference between the spaces I paint, the space I live in and the same space it all comes from.”

Shara Hughes was born in 1981 in Atlanta, Ga. She graduated with a BFA from Rhode Island School of Design in 2004. She’s attended residencies at the Andersen Ranch in Colorado, Vermont Studio Center in Vermont, and two summers on the coast of Denmark through the Mikael Andersen Gallery.  Shara had her first solo show at Rivington Arms in New York City in 2007 and solo shows through Mueum 52 in London, Mikael Andersen in Copenhagen as well as Berlin, and with the Metroquadro gallery in Turin, Italy. Shara will be featured in the Saatchi show PAINT in the upcoming year.  She currently works and resides in Atlanta GA.

I make art historical playgrounds in my own way.  The references are celebrations.

FROM YOUR DESKS: Texture plays a big part in your living scene.  Does this play a role in your art with respect to the pattern and texture of your art?

SHARA HUGHES: Texture is really important to me. It’s in everything. The texture of dirt compared to the leaves growing.  The containing vessel and what it’s sitting on…it never stops. I love to arrange and re-arrange textures, color, and pattern and little set-ups all over my home.

FYD: How do you develop ideas for your paintings?

SH: Recently, I’ve been thinking of a phrase or sentence that goes along with what I’m experiencing in my life and turn it into a visual space. I turn my previous paintings around and put up the blank canvas. Looking at it, images pop in my brain that seem to make sense to the phrase or idea I’m thinking about. I like loose plans because I see everything as alive and changing.  The piece struggles then acquires this special kind of pushing and pulling magic that comes with me letting the piece speak, breathe, and change for itself.  It’s important for me to not become attached to my primary vision.

FYD: Do you borrow or pay homage to old masters a la Matisse or Pollock?

SH: Oh definitely. I’m constantly in awe of old masters.  The more I give nods to them in my work, the more I see just how genius they were/are. I make art historical playgrounds in my own way.  The references are celebrations.

FYD: Your work incorporates objects (telephones, plants, smokes, scissors, saws, chairs, cards). To an extent, are you reflecting your own milieu?

SH: I pull from what I see but it’s not necessarily all there. I don’t have a bunch of cakes and sculptures and views to the ocean all around me. I link up classic symbolism with my own language, that turns into symbols within the body of work as a whole.  I started my own alphabet of symbols.  I like to research what people initially think according to an image or word, what it means to them and what symbol it stands for. I’m interested in the lines between what something is, what it means, and what people say it is.  This abstract versus reality kind of dance.

I make art historical playgrounds in my own way.  

FYD: What are your favorite objects in your home?

SH: I make a lot of things in my home; or at least alter them.  I’m into rocks and plants.  I love my collection of art books.  There’s also a prism hanging in my window that casts millions of tiny rainbows all over my loft at certain points of the day.  When that time comes I lay on the floor and experience the rainbow disco ball effect happening and listen to music.  It reminds me of being a child because it used to hang in our office window there. The only pieces of furniture I own, not a hand me down, are the book shelves and my bed.  Good thing I like the eclectic look.

It’s important for me to not become attached to my primary vision.

FYD: You had a solo show at (the now, sadly defunct) Rivington Arms; which, at the time was the Bowery pioneer. How did that happen?

SH:  I went to residency in Vermont studio center, and became good friends with Meredith James, a talented sculptor and video artist in NYC.  She had a show in her apartment in NYC in 2005 and asked me to send some work. I was in Georgia at the time and my Mom advised me not to Because it was going to be expensive to ship.  I said “you never know who will show up” and shipped the work. Mirabelle saw the work and asked if she could take it to Basel Art Fair in Switzerland. I hid my excitement and kind of said “oh sure” knowing I had zero connections and plans for the work ever, so when she took the work over, it all sold and i just went from there. I’m very sad they are gone.

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