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Institute of Contemporary Art Miami


Shara Hughes
Your Hidden Thorns, 2019

Oil, acrylic, and dye on canvas
68 x 60 x 1 3/4 in.
Shara Hughes Your Hidden Thorns, 2019 Oil, acrylic, and dye on canvas, 68 x 60 in. Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami Anonymous gift

Shara Hughes imagines landscapes and botanical scenes that engage art historical traditions

through vibrant colors. The artist’s deeply researched practice relates to Henri Matisse and André

Derain’s Fauvist landscapes as well as to Gustav Klimt’s forest paintings realized at the

beginning of the twentieth century. Hughes’s elegant compositions thoughtfully expand on the

genre of landscape painting through her inventive use of media—spray paint, enamel, airbrush,

oil paints, acrylics, dye, and markers that create unconventional textures and patterns.

A mystical nocturnal landscape in hues of deep purple and saturated pink, Your Hidden Thorns

(2019) captures a surreal, dreamlike scene dense with trees and flora. The moonlight’s reflection

extends through the center of the painting, creating a waterfall-like shape. Born of intuition,

painting “is a way to connect with something within me that I want to see visually expressed,”

says the artist. While the formal aspects of the work are reminiscent of Post-Impressionists like

Vincent van Gogh and Edvard Munch, the artist’s landscapes are imagined. Rather than being

connected to actual geographic locations, Hughes’s paintings transpose complex psychological

and interior worlds into layered compositions of nature.

Shara Hughes (b. 1981, Atlanta) has exhibited her artwork nationally and internationally, with

solo shows at Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, North Adams (2018); Newport Art

Museum (2018); Gallery Met at the Metropolitan Opera, New York (2017); Atlanta

Contemporary (2013); and Museum 52, London (2010), among others. Hughes’s work is held by

public collections including the Dallas Museum of Art; Denver Art Museum; High Museum of

Art, Atlanta; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Smithsonian American Art Museum,

Washington, DC; and the Whitney Museum of Art, New York; among others. Hughes lives and

works in Brooklyn.