Inner Landscapes

A tree emerges from rivers of yellow and pink. Criss-crosses of red and green cascade into a colourful panorama. Blue lightning strikes down from billowing clouds. These are the “psychological landscapes” of Shara Hughes, an artist based in New York. Her works are on view in Day By Day By Day, a new show at Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zurich, which is deeply rooted in the present.

The paintings and drawings seem to build on the literary device of pathetic fallacy – where human emotions are reflected in aspects of nature, such as the weather. They are intuitive and immediate, designed to radiate moods and unfold layers of the artist’s subconscious. Expressive brushstrokes and vibrant colours collide on paper and canvas – creating bold statements of self-reflection. Each piece is finished in one session.


“I often think about my drawings as a run-on sentence that never ends,” Hughes explains. “I believe the drawings work as a release of my subconscious rather than fully forming something that has evolved and resolved itself. I think they open up questions rather than answering them and that’s the kind of vulnerable edge I’m looking for.”

The artist cites Fauvism, Art Nouveau and German Expressionism as art historical influences. She creates drawings using ink, watercolor, markers, crayons, oil pastels, colored pencils and paint pens. This amalgam of materials and inspiration results in an oeuvre full of energy, texture and meaning.

As well as taking inspiration from the above movements, Hughes introduces a new technique in Day By Day By Day. Many of these works are “monoprint drawings” – works made using the discarded sheets of former prints. They “are neither a copy nor a different version of another print but rather a literal déjà-vu, a landscape one may have already seen before, or might be a mere effect of one’s imagination.” This show is full of inner worlds to discover.

The show runs 2 June – 19 September. Find out more here.


Lead image: Shara Hughes, Sun Shower, 2019. Oil and acrylic on canvas 172.5 x 152.5 cm / 68 x 60 in © Shara Hughes Courtesy the artist and Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zurich / New York Photo: JSP Art Photography.
1. Shara Hughes, Firey Grounds, 2020. Printed ink and mixed media on paper. 98 x 73.5 cm / 38 1/2 x 29 in © Shara Hughes Courtesy the artist and Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zurich / New York Photo: JSP Art Photography.
2. Shara Hughes, Selfie, 2020. Mixed media on paper. 76 x 56 cm / 30 x 22 © Shara Hughes Courtesy the artist and Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zurich / New York Photo: JSP Art Photography.

Posted on 26 May 2020


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