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Born: 1974, Birmingham, England
Lives and Works: London
Civic pride appears to have gone awry in Richard Hughes' art, and once-fresh cultural forces have withered. His meticulously constructed sculptures are often cast or carved from resin to closely replicate items that might be found in a hovel of a rooming house or unceremoniously dumped by the side of the road--bleak monuments to abused domestic or public spaces. "Magic" mushrooms--whose sculpted forms sprout from a number of Hughes' works--constitute a veiled reference to the faded idealism of a generalized psychedelic moment. In addition to these artfully constructed imposters, Hughes creates arrangements of actual items, typically soft materials like bags of garbage or soiled sleeping bags. These double-take installations appear to transform into recognizable images only when seen from a specific angle. The legacy of degeneration and disaffection left by a failed but once-bright vision of social modernity seems to permeate the artist's work like a bad smell. The exploration of such themes harks back to British cinema and theater of the so-called Kitchen Sink movement of the 1950s and 1960s, but the social commentary in Hughes' practice transcends national identities.
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