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Marking the Spot: Sara Hughes’ Dot Works

At first glance, the works in Sara Hughes’ exhibition “Places for Paintings” have the appearance of flat, mathematical patterns assembled from thousands of carefully placed dots.

Some adhere directly to the walls of the Vavasour Godkin Gallery. Others are suspended on Perspex supports that float out from the wall and cast their own shadows.

Like a television test pattern, they convey little immediate information.

A closer look at the works and their titles, however, reveals the artist’s concerns with the way we look at paintings, where they are placed, and what we take from them.

The exhibition title – “Places for Paintings” – is echoed in the naming of each work. “Painting for corner”, “Painting for pillar” and “Painting for ceiling” signpost the deliberate way in which Hughes’ dot paintings infect the gallery space.

“Paintings are influenced by the places they occupy. But places are also influenced by paintings – and it’s that intertwined relationship that I’m exploring with the placement of the works. I’m creating an installation, but it’s an installation of individual works that can then take on a life of their own outside the gallery context.

“I have started using Perspex because of its see-through qualities. You can literally see through parts of the painting to the wall behind. It’s an acknowledgement of where the painting hangs, and it changes with every new placement,” says Hughes.

All the works are made out of 10mm painted and screen printed vinyl dots. From afar, the dots form clusters and geometric groups. The closer the viewer comes to the work, the more information is gained.

“Each dot contains a different pattern or texture or hue. What appears at first to be tonal abstraction is covered in minute detail. Each dot is a pixel that comes into focus as the viewer approaches the work. The paintings oscillate between the overall composition and the individual components.”

Hughes recently graduated from the Elam School of Fine Arts with a Master of Arts (First Class Honours). In the past six months she has exhibited in group shows at the Vavasour Godkin Gallery, as well as creating an installation called “Dot.land” at Te Tuhi – The Mark in Auckland.

For further information contact:

Antoinette Godkin
Vavasour Godkin Gallery
Ph. 09 309 9665

or

Sara Hughes
ph: 021 2134 464

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