January 12, 2008
For his first U.S. solo show, London-based artist Richard Hughes placed a group of incongruous-looking objects throughout the gallery space: stones, paint buckets, wornout shoes, a dirty mattress, rotten barrel planters. The objects may look harmless and innocent, their placement however (a tire slung around a ceiling beam, for example), already invites questions as to its recent history, use, and function, or imminent action. Upon closer inspection though, these objects reveal themselves as casts, meticulously crafted replicas of every-day things.
In addition to the scattered sculptures, Hughes turned the back room of the gallery into a reversed trompe lʼoeil. Objects are placed inside the space and visible only through a head-shaped cut-out in the wall, together creating the illusion of a two-dimensional image, in this case the head of a teen-age boy.
Hughesʼ sculptures are not ready-mades and only seemingly consist of disparate and discarded materials. As facsimiles of common objects, hand-made by the artist, itʼ s not the object that is transformed but its meaning and ability to speak to the viewer. Gradually, these objects-turned-sculptures reveal their inherent capacity to tell stories, narratives that are charged with everyday-life experience and humor. Paradoxically, they would not possess any of these qualities were they simply found objects.