Artist Spotlight: Kristy Hughes

Sul-Jee Scully

kh2Like Christmas, 41″x41″, Acrylic, Collage, Decollage, Pastel, Fumage on Panel, 2016


The World According to Garp is one of my favorite books, but I have always been reluctant to see the movie. This is mainly because I don’t want the actors to replace my images of the characters. There is something very personal and intimate about constructing an image of your own making and the certainty of a defined face for a name feels confining and all too final.

Kristy’s work pulls this act of imaginative construction to the surface. Layered and unbound, her compositions just barely expose glimpses of order amidst rolling shapes of color and fragments which seem to scatter, then merge, before you. The act of looking at Kristy’s work is fully active; in searching for recognizable forms we end up inventing their names for ourselves.

Pieces like March 11 remind me of an activity I did in grade school that my teacher called “Straight Lines That Bend.” Using a ruler, the class drew a series of straight lines connecting points diagonally opposed to each other on an x-y axis. The result looks like a softly weighted net; an arc appears where the lines accumulate. True story: some of us gasped at this effect.

Likewise, there’s a similar sense of magic in Kristy’s work. Marks are built up, then obscured. Lines converge and hint at an amassed structure, yet also sustain individuality. But unlike straight lines that only appear to bend — an illusion that can’t exist without order —  Kristy’s work embraces disarray. And rather than toss out the axis, she questions its structure, a gesture that proves more satisfying than any answer.


khWith Both, 20 1/2″x22 1/2″, Latex Paint, Spray Paint, Collage, Fumage, Colored Pencil, 2016


kh3Hide and Reveal, Approximately 30″x20″, Wood, Collage,  2016


khughes1Everything Stays the Same and Everything Changes, Approximately 54″x54″, Trash, Scrap Paper and Wood, Plastic, 2016


Kristy was recently an artist-in-residence at MASS MoCA and currently lives and practices in Indianapolis. Take a look at more of her work here!

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