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 HughesVerse III, #13, 2021Silver gelatin on paper, framed
Signed by the artist, on verso81.3 x 101.6 cmEdition of 3
Nicholas HughesVerse II, #14, 2020Silver gelatin on paper, framed
Signed by the artist, on verso81.3 x 101.6 cmEdition of 3
Nicholas HughesAspects of Cosmological Indifference no. 13 [Verse I], 2012Chromogenic photograph81.3 x 101.6 cm
32 1/8 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], 2010Chromogenic photograph104 x 94 cm
41 x 37 1/8 inEdition of 8
Nicholas HughesAspects of Cosmological Indifference no. 6 [Verse I], 2010Chromogenic photograph101.6 x 152.4 cm
40 x 60 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
Re: Wild10 May - 4 Jun 2022Dellasposa Gallery is delighted to present Re: Wild, a group exhibition presenting artworks that explore wild landscapes and the possibility of rewilding our state of being.Read more
The exhibition presents an enigmatic sense of nature, branching out and digging deeper with artworks by Gerhard Richter, Ai WeiWei, Daniel Arsham, Nicholas Hughes, Dean Fox, and Sara Odman - all of whom observe the wild as a reflection of disparate artistic, philosophical and technological paradigms.
Daniel Arsham's future relics series expands upon his ongoing exploration of transience, impermanence, and decay in an imagined future civilisation facing significant ecological changes. Ai Weiwei's sculpture is a continuation of a series of works representing trees and their roots, with an interest in the environment and his particular concerns regarding deforestation in the Amazon.
Nicholas Hughes' photography represents the precious and fragile nature of the British landscape. His work depends on a sense of transience, a walk into the unknown, allied to an environmental sensibility. Each of his photographs illustrates the furtive residue of the contemporary wilderness through reduced visions of the sublime within localised nature. Hughes examines the space between the world people inhabit and what nature still claims as its own.
With dense with striated textures, streaks and layers of colour, Gerhard Richter's abstraction takes inspiration from the wild, sublime scenes of the world. His compositions reconcile a process that swings between pure chance and control. As he says, 'all that I am trying to do in each picture is bring together the most disparate and mutually contradictory elements, alive and viable, in the greatest possible freedom.'
New paintings by Dean Fox reveal a frisson between the gestural expression of the human spirit and the mark one makes upon our often muted and tranquil terrain. According to Fox, the interplay between objectivity and abstraction is constant, for 'nature embodies both these qualities and only one particular way of expressing yourself seems limited.' His paintings persuasively affect how we encounter ourselves in the wild. Often painted from memory, Sara Odman's bold and exuberant works depict the expansive forests, endless ocean, and wildflowers of the Norse environment.
Re: Wild is an exhibition that explores our current climate - birth and decay, transience and endurance; it asks us to relinquish our destructive desire for control over the natural world for both people and environments.
Open Views14 Jan - 29 Feb 2020Dellasposa Gallery is delighted to present works by modern and contemporary artists Ehryn Torrell, Tahnee Lonsdale, Alicia Paz, James Rawson, Alexander James Hamilton, Nicholas Hughes, and Patrick Heron.Read more
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.Read more
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.