Nicholas Hughes U. K., b. 1963
Nicholas Hughes was born in Liverpool in 1963 and studied photography at the London College of Communication. From an early age, he was a passionate environmentalist. His understanding of how the natural world has suffered for the benefit of corporate profit led him into fundraising for an environmental advocacy group.
At the same time, Hughes grew increasingly aware of the fragility and preciousness of nature and began studying the landscapes around him. Inspired by thoughtful, socially conscious writers like Thoreau and Seamus Heaney, and deeply influenced by the effects of the Chernobyl disaster on nearby North Wales, Hughes dedicated himself to the task of addressing humanity’s increasingly problematic relationship with nature — while avoiding the pitfalls of polemical and topical documentation in a world already supersaturated with images of destruction and decay.
Hughes' work expresses both universal Romantic themes and a contemporary environmental sensibility. His concerns lie in the space between the world that people inhabit and the world that nature still claims as its own, as well as in a resurrection of the human sense of wonderment before nature. Martin Barnes, senior curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum, observes that Hughes’ recent series “Aspects of Cosmological Indifference” combines the ethereal with the ecological, and the earthly with the epic. The vast distances between human and cosmos are collapsed, and in the inertness of space, light and color come alive, producing a series of celestial portraits in which the same sky shows a different face each time. “The images are desolate, almost bleak, but there seems to be a calm about them,” Sarah Nardi wrote of Hughes’ early series “Edge.” “They seem to reassure us that the existence of life or the lack thereof is inconsequential to the universe.”
Hughes’ theoretical concerns are borne out in his artistic process, which marries the analog to the digital as deftly as it does the physical to the atmospheric. Hughes’ meditations on the threat of ecological destruction simultaneously pay homage to a set of endangered photographic skills and resources. In each rich, vivid print, the light and color that animates the earth and sky seem diffused in the image itself.
Hughes' work has been shown in over sixty group and solo exhibitions worldwide, as well as at the world's major international art fairs in Paris, Los Angeles, and New York. His photographs can be found in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX; the Gana Art Center, Seoul, South Korea; the Falmouth Art Gallery, Cornwall, England; and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, England, which selected his work to appear in a travelling exhibition in India in 2010. His work has been featured in numerous journals and magazines, including Next Level, Hotshoe International, The Photographer, and the British Journal of Photography, and was included in the Harvard University Press publication Photography and the Art of Chancein 2015. Hughes published his first limited-edition book, "Aspects of Cosmological Indifference," in 2013, and is currently at work on a forthcoming monograph titled “Nowhere Far.”
Nicholas HughesAspects of Cosmological Indifference no. 13 [Verse I], 2012Chromogenic photograph81.3 x 101.6 cm
32 x 40 inEdition of 8
Nicholas HughesAspects of Cosmological Indifference no. 12 [Verse I], 2011Chromogenic photograph40.6 x 50.8 cm
16 x 20 inEdition of 8
Nicholas HughesAspects of Cosmological Indifference no. 5 [Verse I], 2010-ongoingChromogenic photograph104 x 94 cm
41 x 37 1/8 inEdition of 8
Nicholas HughesIn Darkness Visible no. 14 [Verse I], 2007Chromogenic photograph81.3 x 101.6 cm
32 x 40 inEdition of 5
Nicholas HughesIn Darkness Visible [Verse I] no. 12, 2007Chromogenic photograph81.3 x 101.6 cm
32 x 40 inEdition of 5
Nicholas HughesIn Darkness Visible no. I [Verse II] , 2006-2007Chromogenic photograph40.6 x 50.8 cm
16 x 20 inEdition of 15
Nocturne8 - 31 May 2019Dellasposa Gallery presents the exhibition Nocturne, an ensemble of artworks about the ethereal nature of life in the hours of darkness - explored through the movement of the contemporary artists Nicholas Hughes, Dean and James, and Guy Haddon Grant.
The exhibition offers a new conceptual perspective on the Nocturne. The representation of light is a defining feature in the exhibition - not only are the works of art concerned with the transformative quality of the night, they traverse the elements of visual notations and movement, treated akin to musical composition.
In these pieces, the artists convey a sense of beauty and tranquillity with nature is a score realised through the process of observation and act of creation. The qualities of these moments - the sense of grace, momentary movement and repose - and their artistic rumination often turn to a more complex impression. Some of the pieces bring to light hidden depths of one's consciousness; for what is done in the dark, must come to light. For all the artists, the visual sensations of art are in symbiosis with the classical renditions of a nocturne - rhythm, harmony, accent, graphic chromatic counterpoints, and cadence - are employed here for expressive purpose.