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b. 1981, USA

Shara Hughes Biography

Populated with vibrant colour and shifting perspectives, Sarah Hughes' invented landscapes, often painted in oil and acrylic, reimagine traditional landscape painting, transporting the viewer to a mystical, dream-like world.

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Shara Hughes' Early Career

Born in Atlanta, Georgia, Hughes received her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2004. After two artist residencies in Denmark through Mikael Anderson Gallery in 2008 and 2009, Hughes went on to attend the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Today, Hughes lives and works in Brooklyn, New York with her boyfriend, artist Austin Eddy.

In her early career, Hughes predominately painted interior scenes with narratives sourced from her personal life, producing works such as Sailing (2006), Home Theater (2007), and Three's a Crowd (2008). On this early subject, she explained, '[interiors] always felt like the best resolution to everything for me. Within an interior, you can make a landscape through a window or you can make another person's painting within the painting, or you can paint figures or not.'

Invented Landscapes

Moving to New York in 2014, Hughes began painting landscapes of undulating hills, serpentine rivers, ominous trees, and magical shorelines. Characterised by a bold colour palette, Hughes' fairy-tale narratives employ spontaneous mark-making and playful textures and perspectives, recalling the fantastical landscapes and pictorial innovations of David Hockney and Edvard Munch.

Self-reflection is paramount in the construction of Hughes' otherworldly landscapes. Speaking with Ocula Advisory on Soft and Strong (2021), a new work included in her 2021 solo exhibition at Garden Museum, London, Hughes explained, 'all of the paintings I make are self-portraits in one way or another, whether it's very specific of very abstract... [Soft and Strong] feels like a self-portrait. While making it, I was going through something hard and I felt very delicate, yet at the same time, forcing myself through an issue made me feel strong.'

A range of materials and techniques such as oil, fabric dye, brushes, and trowels manifest into the tactile and seductive scenes of Hard Hats (2021), Centering and Strengthening (2021), and Sigh (2021).

Auction Success

As a young female painter, Hughes' distinctive visual practice and history of widely-acclaimed exhibitions has placed her at the forefront of the international contemporary art scene, with her works continuously outperforming at auction. High Waters (2016), a large-scale oil and acrylic painting on canvas, far exceeded its highest estimate of $154,000 USD at the 2020 Christie's 20th Century Sale in Hong Kong. The painting sold for just over $500,000 USD, marking a new record for the artist.

Public and Private Collections

Hughes' works has been collected by prominent museums and public institutions worldwide, including Dallas Museum of Art; Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; M Woods Museum, Beijing; Whitney Museum of Art, New York; and Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, among others.

Exhibitions

Solo exhibitions include On Edge (2021) at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis. Hughes will also hold solo exhibitions at Yuz Museum, Shanghai in November 2021 and Kunstmuseum Luzern, Switzerland in 2022.

Shara Hughes' solo exhibitions include Pivot, Le Consortium, Dijon (2021); Return of Light, Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zurich (2021); Unmanageable, Pilar Corrias, London (2020); In Lieu of Flowers, Rachel Uffner Gallery, New York (2019); Don't Hold Your Breath, Galerie Eva Presenbuber, Zurich (2018); Shara Hughes: Big Intimates, Ornis A. Gallery, Amsterdam (2016); Trips I've Never Been On, Marlborough Gallery, New York (2016); and Midnight Snacks, Institute 193, Lexington (2014).

Shara Hughes' recent group exhibitions include Lois Dodd and Shara Hughes, Parts & Labour Beacon, New York (2020); She is Here, Atlanta Contemporary (2020); America Will Be! Surveying the Contemporary Landscape, Dallas (2019); SEED, Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York (2018); Cliché, Almine Rech Gallery, New York (2018); [If Only Bella Abzurg Were Here][9], Marc Straus Gallery, New York (2016); Sprawl, High Museum of Art, Atlanta (2015); and Bathers, Morgan Lehman Gallery, New York (2013).

Hughes' work has also been featured in international art fairs, and was included in the 2017 Whitney Biennial.

Annabel Downes | Ocula | 2021

Exhibition view: Shara Hughes, Return of Light, Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Maag Areal, Zurich (29 May–22 July 2021). © Shara Hughes. Courtesy the artist and Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zurich / New York.

Shara Hughes Featured Artworks

View All (23)
Shy by Shara Hughes contemporary artwork
Shara HughesShy, 2021Oil and acrylic on canvas
35.5 x 28 cm
Galerie Eva Presenhuber Contact Gallery
Keep It In by Shara Hughes contemporary artwork
Shara HughesKeep It In, 2021Oil and acrylic on canvas
35.5 x 28 cm
Galerie Eva Presenhuber Contact Gallery
Be Bold by Shara Hughes contemporary artwork
Shara HughesBe Bold, 2021Oil, acrylic and dye on canvas
244 x 183 cm
Galerie Eva Presenhuber Contact Gallery
Broken Up For You by Shara Hughes contemporary artwork
Shara HughesBroken Up For You, 2019Oil, acrylic and dye on canvas
147.3 x 127 cm
Hauser & Wirth Contact Gallery
The Natural Fences by Shara Hughes contemporary artwork
Shara HughesThe Natural Fences, 2020Oil and acrylic on canvas
172.7 x 152.4 cm
Sold
Pilar Corrias
Radiant Sea by Shara Hughes contemporary artwork
Shara HughesRadiant Sea, 2019Oil, acrylic and dye on canvas
198.1 x 167.6 cm
Sold
Pilar Corrias
Silver Lining by Shara Hughes contemporary artwork
Shara HughesSilver Lining, 2019Oil and acrylic on canvas
35.6 x 27.9 cm
Sold
Pilar Corrias
Blue Pansies by Shara Hughes contemporary artwork
Shara HughesBlue Pansies, 2019Oil and acrylic on canvas
35.6 x 27.9 cm
Sold
Pilar Corrias

Shara Hughes Current & Recent Exhibitions

View All (7)
Contemporary art exhibition, Shara Hughes, Return of Light at Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Maag Areal, Zürich, Zurich
Open Now
29 May–22 July 2021 Shara Hughes Return of Light Galerie Eva PresenhuberMaag Areal, Zürich
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, All In One. One Work By Each Gallery Artist at Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Rämistrasse, Zürich, Zurich
Closed
14 November–12 December 2020 Group Exhibition All In One. One Work By Each Gallery Artist Galerie Eva PresenhuberRämistrasse, Zürich
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Artists for New York at Hauser & Wirth, 548 West 22nd Street, New York
Closed
1–22 October 2020 Group Exhibition Artists for New York Hauser & Wirth548 West 22nd Street, New York

Shara Hughes Represented By

Galerie Eva Presenhuber contemporary art gallery in Maag Areal, Zürich, Zurich, Switzerland Galerie Eva Presenhuber Zurich, New York
Pilar Corrias contemporary art gallery in Eastcastle Street, London, United Kingdom Pilar Corrias London
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