When Marshal McLuhan coined the phrase “The medium is the message” little did he know that there was an artist in the making by the name of Anne Hughes who would dedicate her life and creativity to intuitively making the medium and the message come alive through her art. In a strange and uncanny way, Anne would become a benevolent messenger of an artistic “stargate” that opens the door to other worlds and experiences that connect us through creativity, imagination, reality, fantasy, dreams, play, curiosity, magic, hope, joy, and wonderment. Anne transmits all of this with humility, and dedicated commitment through her art, and through the intuitive ideas she explores through various physical materials with highly skillful artistic techniques, that inevitably takes the viewer through numerous, and multiple visual, conceptual, and transformative experiences in each and every work.
Many individuals are concerned, and to some degree, obsessed with definitions, and labels in art, related to realism, abstract, modern, post modern, etc. In the end all this labeling is nice for those who are more concerned with the history of art than with a timeless experience, communicating, interacting, and experiencing the art itself. If you are willing to forgo the labels, and are open to just experiencing the art, Anne will take you on a visual and emotional journey that will be remembered for a very long time. For those individuals who are fortunate enough to own one or more of Anne’s works, they will be able to experience this visual journey on a daily ongoing basis. The wonder of Anne’s magical creativity is that every time one engages with her work one experiences something new and enlightening. Just when we think we already know a work, we begin to see new relationships in the images, or gain new insights into her creative mind, or into our reality, and perception.
Anne’s work is about experiencing. Everyone who engages with her work, and imagery may see something similar, but will not experience things in the same way, because we are all different, and experience things uniquely. We may see playful images, images that seem to be out of place, out of time, or out of reality as we know it. We may see images that interact in a space that is foreign to their natural environment: like a “fish out of water”. Anne transforms the natural environment and brings all environments together into one space, or frame. This may be hard to imagine in reality, but Anne’s work transforms reality, takes us on an imaginary journey, and while we are on this journey she shows us a new reality, a new way of seeing with many surprises, and new answers to the visual and conceptual questions that we may have. Anne’s work is not about linear logic, it is about a multi dimensional experience that redefines logic, reality, space, perception, and allows us to engage in new questions, experiences, and perceive new “logics”.
To really experience Anne’s work, or other work, for that matter, it must be seen in its actual physical configuration, and not in a photo, or on a computer, iPad, or cell phone screen; the so-called new social media “art gallery”. The real actual size, media, materials, configuration etc., is what brings her art works to life. When we approach a work, we already start our experience, and engagement.
As we move closer, our experience, and perception start to change, transform through the interaction of the colors, images, materials, and what we personally bring to the work.
Then, when we stop in front of Anne’s work, and journey visually through all the materials and imagery, we begin to see and experience the magical tour that Anne is taking us on.
We, as the viewer, have to find the correct distance or position from the work so our personal experience can take place. Even moving to the right or left of her work changes what we see and experience. In some art works this happened by default. In Anne’s work the changes in perception is by design.
Looking at her work on a computer or other technical device, for that matter, will NEVER give the true impact or power of the work. The character of the materials used ie. paper, wood, canvas, cardboard etc., the colors added, the strokes of the brush, pencil, pastels, etc., interacting with each other, all bring the work to life, transforming the original material(s) into a new identity opening the mind of the viewer giving new insights into ones perception and reality.
The phrase “seeing is believing” is very true after seeing the creative work of Anne Hughes; believing takes on a new meaning. As with all art we have to approach it with an open mind. We have to leave our prejudices, and biases at home, as much as possible, and experience each work on it’s own terms and merit /relationship as if we were talking to, or engaged with the artist personally; and before we know it we have developed a new friendship that will last a lifetime.
Those that are fortunate to see Anne Hughes’ work will experience things, like they never have before. But it must be remembered like all relationships, it takes time, engagement, and nurturing. However, even if one does not have the time to develop a “real friendship” or relationship with Anne’s work, just simply passing in front of a work, one just begins to feel as if Anne is stretching out her hand in a welcoming, friendly gesture encouraging us to engage in the exhilarating experience with her art.
So welcome all to the creative world, and transformative experience of the unique art of Anne Hughes, and be pleasantly surprised, and elated with the message transformed by the media; and for all the above, Anne Hughes deserves to be recognized and acknowledged in a category among the best, and most creative artists.
Wolfgang Krol, Associate Professor, Studio Arts (retired)
Concordia University, Montreal, Que., Canada