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Nicholas Hughes In Darkness Visible (Verse I) #10, 2007

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Fifty Dots Gallery

Barcelona, Spain

Artsper seller since 2015
38 orders finalized
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Nicholas Hughes, In Darkness Visible (Verse I) #10
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About the work
  • Medium

    Photography : C-print

  • Dimensions cm | inch

    9.8 x 11.8 inch

  • Support

    Photography on baryta paper

  • Framing

    Not framed

  • Type

    Numbered and limited to 15 copies
    5 remaining copies

  • Authenticity

    Work sold with an invoice from the gallery
    and a certificate of authenticity

  • Signature

    Signed artwork

  • About the artwork

    Artwork sold in perfect condition

    This body of work examines our relationship with nature and is split into two sections: Verse I and Verse II. It seeks to illustrate the frail residue of the contemporary wilderness.

    Verse I

    In reaction to our media-led sensory anaesthetisation, and worn by the inadequacy of late political rhetoric, I have constructed a forest built from accumulated memory and the ghosts of trees. Having spent a period of two Winters visiting public spaces in central London, this work inverts decorative Arcadian layout in an attempt to restore a sense of the natural in the cultivated, somewhat synthetic city ‘wilderness’ spaces.

    The city park offers an escape valve – a window leading the weary city dweller to reconstructed, consumable nature. Although the essence of these spaces can appear pseudo-natural, some of these great trees actually predate the infrastructure of the city, and despite their accommodated appearance have witnessed centuries of human endeavour.

    These works provide an emotive and atmospheric lament for that deeply ingrained aspect of the human psyche, our deeply held association with the primeval forest as spiritual home, which is lost, but which, in contemplating these visual idylls can be exhumed. These works act as a plaintive call for that which can be regenerated.

    Verse II

    Turner was moved by what he called “The weather in our souls”. He could see the universe in a rainstorm. My search for emblematic last points of light within ensuing darkness on ocean currents involved long periods of contemplation on the complexities of nature from a familiar vantage point.

    Finding company in the words of Thoreau during his retreat to the American wilderness of Walden:

    All change is a miracle to contemplate; but it is a miracle, which is taking place every instant.

    The framing of the camera helped to reduce the ‘noise’ of distraction while still portraying the swirling wild morass of life, indecision, strife, entrapment and the possibility of change. Deep swirling chaos with shafts of enlightenment impress one with a disarming sense of frailty. In the face of this awesome power we are left nurturing a tender hope for light within the ensuing darkness.

    Through the production of these works has come a synthesis between reality and abstraction distilled through darkness. Contemplation is brought to bear upon mournful sensory visions of restored primordial beauty.

    One recognises the possibility of slowing down, and discovers the still small voice of calm that in the darkness may yet be visible.

    — Nicholas Hughes
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Origin: Spain
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Nicholas Hughes

United Kingdom Born in: 1963
Nicholas Hughes was born in Liverpool in 1963 and studied photography at the London College of Communication. From an early age, he was a passionate environmentalist. His understanding of how the natural world has suffered for the benefit of corporate profit led him into fundraising for an environmental advocacy group.

At the same time, Hughes grew increasingly aware of the fragility and preciousness of nature and began studying the landscapes around him. Inspired by thoughtful, socially conscious writers like Thoreau and Seamus Heaney, and deeply influenced by the effects of the Chernobyl disaster on nearby North Wales, Hughes dedicated himself to the task of addressing humanity’s increasingly problematic relationship with nature — while avoiding the pitfalls of polemical and topical documentation in a world already supersaturated with images of destruction and decay.

Hughes’ work expresses both universal Romantic themes and a contemporary environmental sensibility. His concerns lie in the space between the world that people inhabit and the world that nature still claims as its own, as well as in a resurrection of the human sense of wonderment before nature. Martin Barnes, senior curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum, observes that Hughes’ recent series “Aspects of Cosmological Indifference” combines the ethereal with the ecological, and the earthly with the epic. The vast distances between human and cosmos are collapsed, and in the inertness of space, light and color come alive, producing a series of celestial portraits in which the same sky shows a different face each time. “The images are desolate, almost bleak, but there seems to be a calm about them,” Sarah Nardi wrote of Hughes’ early series “Edge.” “They seem to reassure us that the existence of life or the lack thereof is inconsequential to the universe.”

Hughes’ theoretical concerns are borne out in his artistic process, which marries the analog to the digital as deftly as it does the physical to the atmospheric. Hughes’ meditations on the threat of ecological destruction simultaneously pay homage to a set of endangered photographic skills and resources. In each rich, vivid print, the light and color that animates the earth and sky seem diffused in the image itself.

Hughes’ work has been shown in over seventy group and solo exhibitions worldwide, as well as at the world’s major international art fairs in Paris, London, Los Angeles, and New York. His photographs can be found in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX; the Gana Art Center, Seoul, South Korea; the Falmouth Art Gallery, Cornwall, England; and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, England, which selected his work to appear in a travelling exhibition in India in 2010. His work has been featured in numerous journals and magazines, including Exit Imagen y Cultura -Paisajes Silenciosos, Next Level, Hotshoe International, The Photographer, and the British Journal of Photography, and was included in the Harvard University Press publication Photography and the Art of Chance in 2015 as well as in the 2018 publication Metamodernism. Historicity, Affect and Depth after Postmodernism.

Hughes published his first limited-edition book, “Aspects of Cosmological Indifference,” in 2013, and his first major monograph titled “Nowhere Far” was published by GOST (London) in December 2017 and is to be found in the book collections of the Tate Gallery and the National Art library at the Victoria and Albert Museum (London).
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Nicholas Hughes, In Darkness Visible (Verse I) #10
Nicholas Hughes, In Darkness Visible (Verse I) #10