Press Release

Nailya Alexander Gallery is pleased to present “Nicholas Hughes: Contemplating Landscape.” Opening on September 7, the show of seventeen, medium to large format color photographs runs through October 30, 2010 at 41 E 57th Street, Suite 704. This will be Hughes’s first show in New York, and a reception for the artist will be held on September 14 from 5:30 to 7:30pm.

British artist Nicholas Hughes (b. 1963) works in series analogous to verses in poetry. Each series expresses a concern for the environment while alluding to universal Romantic themes. Each seeks to capture the frail residue of contemporary wilderness through abstract imagery. In contemplating the relationship between man and nature, Hughes examines the space between the world that people inhabit and that nature claims as its own: “The demands of industry and the vanity of human ownership have squeezed out the parameters of the rural idyll – leaving maybe only the illusions of space available through the constructions of the camera.”

In his Edge (2002-2006) and In Darkness Visible (2005-2007) series, Hughes explores a sense of wonderment before nature and its transformative powers. The overburdened mind is offered an escape valve through wondrous sea vistas or a resurrected primordial forest of central London parkland. In his recent Field (2007-2009) he has taken his constructed observations to a more challenging level: “... it no longer seems necessary to cross the globe in search of the new, the exotic and the undiscovered. Instead it is the seemingly new world on our doorstep that demands exploration and contemplation.” 

The entire series was made in the vicinity of Hughes’s home in Cornwall. The artist feels that environmental awareness has heightened our sensibility towards the beautiful and sublime in local landscape. His contemplation is by no means only a perpetuation of a Romantic, however, for he sees the notion of the natural world as forever vast and mysterious quickly evaporating. By focusing on boundaries and surfaces, he acknowledges the limits humanity has imposed on the natural world and considers the future for both. Hughes uses a large format field camera to produce highly detailed 4 x 5 inches negatives; the traditional camera design also provides more freedom in creating a composition.

Hughes’s work has been gaining increasing international recognition through “The Histories of Photography” exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London (2010), a solo show at the Photographers’ Gallery in London (2007), and being part of “Earth” at Houston Fotofest (2006) as well as in “Landscape,” the 5th International Photo Festival in Seoul, South Korea (2005). His work will be a part of “Something that I’ll Really Never See: Contemporary Photography from the Victoria & Albert Museum,” which opens in November 2010 at the Bhau Daji Lad Museum in Mumbai.