b. 1981, USA

Shara Hughes Biography

Populated with vibrant colour and shifting perspectives, Shara 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.


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

Shara Hughes Featured Artworks

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You Can't Hide by Shara Hughes contemporary artwork painting
Shara Hughes You Can't Hide, 2022 Oil, acrylic, and dye on canvas
68 x 60 x 2.5 inches
Not for sale
Galerie Eva Presenhuber
Fire Inside Me by Shara Hughes contemporary artwork painting
Shara Hughes Fire Inside Me, 2022 Oil and acrylic on canvas
121.9 x 101.6 cm
Pilar Corrias Enquire
Finding Balance by Shara Hughes contemporary artwork print
Shara Hughes Finding Balance, 2020 Etching
75.5 x 55.5 cm
Knust Kunz Gallery Editions Contact Gallery
Making Space by Shara Hughes contemporary artwork painting
Shara Hughes Making Space, 2021 Oil and acrylic on canvas
198.1 x 167.6 cm
LGDR Enquire
Red Maples by Shara Hughes contemporary artwork painting, works on paper
Shara Hughes Red Maples, 2020 Mixed media on paper
38.1 x 27.9 cm
Pilar Corrias Enquire
Mt Tremper In The Trees by Shara Hughes contemporary artwork painting, works on paper
Shara Hughes Mt Tremper In The Trees, 2020 Mixed media on paper
38.1 x 27.9 cm
Pilar Corrias Enquire
Moon Rise by Shara Hughes contemporary artwork painting, works on paper
Shara Hughes Moon Rise, 2020 Mixed media on paper
38.1 x 27.9 cm
Pilar Corrias Enquire
Broken Up For You by Shara Hughes contemporary artwork painting
Shara Hughes Broken Up For You, 2019 Oil, acrylic and dye on canvas
147.3 x 127 cm
Hauser & Wirth Enquire

Shara Hughes Current & Recent Exhibitions

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Shara Hughes Represented By

David Kordansky Gallery contemporary art gallery in Los Angeles, USA David Kordansky Gallery Los Angeles, New York
Galerie Eva Presenhuber contemporary art gallery in Maag Areal, Zürich, Zurich, Switzerland Galerie Eva Presenhuber New York, Vienna, Zurich

Shara Hughes In Ocula Magazine

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