Pace Prints is pleased to present Surprise Anxiety, an exhibition of monotypes by Shara Hughes at its 521 West 26th Street gallery. This is the artist's first exhibition with Pace Prints. An opening reception will be held Thursday, March 1, from 6-8pm.
Painting with oil-based inks directly onto an aluminum plate, Hughes creates a dreamy and seductive body of monotype paintings on paper. These jewel-toned landscapes are non-referential; each imagined world is built on intuition and the emotional connection attached to memory.
Through the printmaking technique of ghost printing, Hughes links her process to the pathways of memory. Just as with the transfer of information in the telephone game, the second transfer of ink is where an element of the unexpected happens. This ghost print, or remnant pigment remaining on the plate after the first pass through the press, yields pale and euphoric planes of translucent color. This is Hughes' starting point, the place from which she intuits the direction of the emerging landscape. Showcasing her sensitivity to material, the artist both additively and reductively creates a painting on the plate in response to the first ghost print impression. She then carefully registers the freshly painted plate to the ghost print on paper, merging worlds of color into one whimsical, ambiguously layered and gestural landscape.
Each monotype reads as a window into an intimate new world. The flowing forms evoke a calming familiarity that beckons the viewer inward. The Stars Don't Lie is a gorgeous phantasm of light and night sky. One imagines the revelatory moment this uninhabited cove is found, and the longing they have for that moment thereafter.
Surprise Anxiety references both the artistic dare of the monotype process and the current uncertainty and restlessness of world affairs. Painting backward on a plate and dealing with the finality of the transfer from plate to paper allows for moments of questioning and new possibility. Through the chance aspect of this technique, Hughes' paintings emerge as tranquil moments of clarity in these anxious times.
Shara Hughes was born in Atlanta, Georgia in 1981. She received her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design, attended Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, received a Joan Mitchell Fellowship to attend Vermont Studio Center, and attended Anderson Ranch artist residency. Hughes has had solo exhibitions with Rachel Uffner Gallery, Marlborough Chelsea, Gallery Met, Metropolitan Opera, Lincoln Center, American Contemporary and Rivington Arms, New York; Museum 52, London; Metroquadro, Rivoli; and Galerie Mikael Anderson, Copenhagen. Her paintings were included in the 2017 Whitney Biennial, and she has participated in group exhibitions at Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zurich; Jack Hanley Gallery, New York, and the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, among others. Hughes lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.