The Curious Amalgam Of Anne Hughes

Some people plot out every move whether in life or in art.  Anne Hughes is not one of those people.  Her life and art is a journey of twists and turns where she takes advantage of an opportunity, a gesture or serendipitous coming together of color and marks from which she jumps into an adventure.  Born in Canada of American parents, Hughes grew up outside of Montréal, Québec.  Exposure to cultural diversity, along with curiosity and fascination in subjects from geography, literature, nature and the environment and, of course, art led to an early realization that art is a means to explore any interest.  She received a BFA from Concordia University in Montreal and embarked on a short archeological stint in California.  Then a number of artist residency fellowships and the Brucebo artist travel scholarship allowed her to continue to explore her art and other areas of the world.  Graduate School in Illinois and Ohio led to MA and MFA’s in art and unforgettable studies in Bali.  All along she has exhibited in Canada and the States.  Hughes now makes her home in the Chicago area although still not rooted there. Her work is based in painting, drawing, sculpture and amalgamation of the three.  This can be seen in her current showing at ZIA Gallery.  

Anne Hughes’ assemblages feature a jubilant expression of life, as she seeks “to evoke the wonder and precarious state of our interconnectedness.” Continental Drift, an impressive shadowboxed polygon, contains a juxtaposition of sharp and soft nature-inspired elements where irregular green flames of swirled glass along with painted-Masonite contour forms rise and descend outside the frame. The multi-dimensional piece captures the complexity of life and relationships between humans and nature.  Continental Drift features several unique uses of materials including glass tubes of varying widths and lengths each topped with a marble. The merging of hemispheres, represented in undulating forms of cool and warm colors reminiscent of jet stream winds, is punctuated by a humanlike figure diving right through the center of the piece. A fantastical universe of events unfolds as if recreating a dream sequence of one of life’s definitive moments, such as birth or death. Hughes establishes a continuity that holds all the pieces together and promises richer levels of understanding upon repeated viewings.  Hughes inspires awe and curiosity. The duality of life presented in Continental Drift provides a stimulus for viewers to consider relationships in their own life. Bringing a sense of beauty and grace to the unyielding truths of life is no easy task, yet Hughes does exactly that as Continental Drift acts as a mirror for the self. This is quite a significant accomplishment, and worthy of attention and consideration within and far beyond gallery walls.

The Vibrant Nature Of Fumiko Toda

Japanese artist Fumiko Toda has recently joined our family of artists here at ZIA|Gallery.  Ms. Toda grew up in a rural community outside of Kyoto and is a graduate of Kyoto University of Art and Design.  In 2001 she moved to New York City, where she studied painting with Sonia Gechtoff, figurative drawing with Costa Vavagiakis and printmaking with William Behnken and Kathy Carraccio at the National Academy of Fine Art through 2007. Toda moves seamlessly between the realms of painting and printmaking and has exhibited her work extensively. Her paintings and prints have an obsessive quality of intricate detail, repetition of forms and patterns, all rendered with colors so vibrant, as to appear as if they were ground from pure minerals and substances found only in nature, or in the insects themselves. She eschews sketching and reference materials, etching directly onto zinc plates, applying complex techniques, such as chine colle and a la poupee. Toda attributes her sense of design, space and line to her years in Japanese art schools, such skills and craftsmanship are emphasized. Recent solo and 2 person exhibitions include “Recent Painting” in 2012 and “Illuminated & Adored” in 2010 at Susan Eley Fine Art and “Recent Insects” in 2009 at the Safe-T Gallery, NYC. Group exhibitions include Matrix to Impression: Contemporary and Modern prints at Madelyn Jordon Fine Art Gallery, NYC and The Second Bangkok Triennale International Print and Drawing Exhibition, Thailand. In 2008, Toda participated in the 183rd Annual An Invitational Exhibition of Contemporary American Art at The National Academy Museum, NYC. 

Farrell Sells Out In Tokyo

Artist Holly Farrell, whose recent exhibition in Tokyo rapidly sold-out, is worth further attention.  Through her skill and preoccupation with realistic detail, Holly has a knack of turning an inanimate object into narrative.  One wonders at what quiet dramas a plush velvet chair has seen.  Farrell chooses a spare composition in which the subject speaks of a life.  With Farrell’s Chair and Lamp paintings there’s something Hopper-esque about the world they inhabit- a lonely, bygone era.  Yet, they feel of this time.  With a more conscious examination of the works, one marvels at Holly’s skill in manipulating paint to depict, say, the velvetness of velvet.  Holly speaks of her dogged determination to “get it right.”  And that she does.  In her handling of paint and the straightforward presentation of her subject, she shows the ability to evoke nostalgia without stooping to saccharine flourishes.  The relationship of subject to background alters the mood.  One smiles at a subtle juxtaposition of ski-doo cap and choice of wallpaper design.  Currently, you will see three of Holly’s works on view at ZIA Gallery.  Don’t miss a chance to appreciate her work in person, because, as her Tokyo exhibition demonstrates, Holly Farrell’s art is going places!