Martha Hughes

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Inspired by the artwork of children, outsider, and mentally ill artists, Martha Hughes paints grid-based scenes using reductive, geometric blocks of color. Based in Marfa, Texas, the artist frequently depicts unsettling or impossible spaces. Her “Scenes” and “Setups” series, alluring in their ambiguity and bold use of color, reveal the contours of subtly vertiginous interior spaces. Hughes is also interested in the ways objects can convey atmosphere and mood. For example, her “Timelapse” series, which is painted in a reductive, hard-edged style with minimal detail, documents the changing placements of objects and illuminations within a particular setting, such as a kitchen table.

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from Martha’s website:

Paintings in the Scenes series are of everyday, prosaic interiors and landscapes, with ambiguous, vertiginous spaces that reflect my sense of never being quite at home in the world. The look of this series was initially partly influenced by children’s tempera paintings, which are typically colorful, flat, and simple. I often find inspiration from glossy interior design and architecture magazines, with their strange, carefully staged photographs of impossibly pristine, impossibly beautiful houses, gardens, and pools.

“I’m stepping through the door
And I’m floating in a most peculiar way
And the stars look very different today”
– David Bowie, Space Oddity


from Martha’s website:

These works also stem from my interest in animation and the way things change over time. I photograph the same domestic view every day over a period of weeks, months, or years, then do drawings or paintings based on the photographs.



Martha Hughes is an American Postwar & Contemporary artist who was born in 1949. Their work was featured in several exhibitions at key galleries and museums, including the RULE Gallery, Denver and the RULE Gallery, Marfa. In MutualArt’s artist press archive,