Shara Hughes aims to subvert the traditional connotations associated with flowers. Neither delicate nor stereotypically beautiful, her flowers take on an aggressive, almost defiant inflection. These four larger-than-life size canvases cast a new lens on the expressive quality—and potential—of flowers. The artist sees her own personal qualities in these paintings, which she refers to as self-portraits. Her poppy, dandelion, and orchids embody humanistic qualities, be it stubborn, resilient, or expressive.
Hughes’s paintings offer her viewers an ant-like perspective as they peer up at these towering, gigantic forms. Commanding in scale, Hughes likewise lends a seriousness to the realm of the still life. Mindful of ecology, the artist gives ample space to this environmentally timely subject matter often relegated to the background.
In 2006, Hughes moved to the Roaring Fork Valley, spending time at Anderson Ranch and producing work for her first solo exhibition over the course of a year. The artist began painting landscapes when she moved to New York City in 2015 and started her flower series in 2019. She painted these canvases during the lockdown at the end of 2020. Flowers, in a sense, serve as a marker of time, both seasonally but also as a symbol of spring, youth, beauty, and ultimately of death and mortality. Here, Hughes renders flowers in their prime, powerful depictions of both her surroundings and her inner self.
This exhibition traveled from the Garden Museum, London. At the AAM, this exhibition is curated by Nicola Lees, Nancy and Bob Magoon Director and Simone Krug, Assistant Curator.
Tuesday–Sunday, 10 AM–6 PM
General operating support is provided by Colorado Creative Industries. CCI and its activities are made possible through an annual appropriation from the Colorado General Assembly and federal funds from the National Endowment for the Arts.