MICHAEL McHUGH | EXOTICS | 17 SEPTEMBER - 11 OCTOBER 2020

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© Martin Browne Contemporary © All images copyright Michael McHugh This catalogue is copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purposes of private study, research, criticism or review as permitted under the Copyright Act, no part may be reproduced by any process without written permission. COMPILER: Ally Russell-Floyd PHOTOGRAPHER: Jenni Carter COLOUR SEPARATIONS: Spitting Image, Sydney Cover Image: Cluster, 2020, acrylic on canvas, 150 x 150 cm


MICHAEL McHUGH EXOTICS

17 September - 11 October 2020

MARTIN BROWNE CONTEMPORARY 15 HAMPDEN STREET PADDINGTON NSW 2021 TEL: 02 9331 7997 FAX: 02 9331 7050 info@martinbrownecontemporary.com www.martinbrownecontemporary.com GALLERY HOURS: TUESDAY - SUNDAY 10:30AM - 6PM


EXOTICS The world of EXOTICS is a celebration of plant forms, some that perhaps no longer exist and others that may hold a nucleus from DNA found centuries ago. The shapes are highly manipulated in a riot of colour inviting the viewer to take part in this kaleidoscope where they can decide themselves if these plants actually do exist or are just part of my imagination. My art practice has consistently explored colour, composition and textural, abstract form with a strong connection to the natural world. Informed by research at both London’s Royal Horticulture Society Library and Sydney’s Botanical Gardens at the Daniel Solander Library exploring drawings in archives and heritage collections. I was fascinated by the extraordinary and varied interpretations different botanists had made of plant species, discovering a ’new world’ of flora and fauna, giving me license to create my own botanical language. Drawing and collaging under pin the paintings where hallucinogenic interpretations of extinct botanical species are juxtaposed with contemporary and invented plant forms. In EXOTICS enlarged microscopic shapes float across the surfaces of the paintings, almost like twirling DNA, vigorously pushing boundaries with colour, technique and patterns between the macro and micro detail that come together welcoming the viewer into a world of exotica. Colour celebrates nature, with lush paint, obsessive and repetitive mark making I want these paintings to bring the viewer joy, to smile, in my world let’s forget everything else that’s happening, and I hope, an antidote to current times and for a moment let’s just be happy. Michael McHugh


LIST OF WORKS Jubilee, 2020, acrylic on canvas, 200 x 200 cm Curio, 2020, acrylic on canvas, 120 x 120 cm Temptation, 2020, acrylic on canvas, 180 x 150 cm Hoopla, 2020, acrylic on canvas, 150 x 150 cm Allure, 2020, acrylic on canvas, 200 x 200 cm Jitterbug, 2020, acrylic on canvas, 120 x 120 cm Periwinkle, 2020, acrylic on canvas, 120 x 120 cm Perennial, 2020, acrylic on canvas, 150 x 150 cm Entice, 2020, acrylic on canvas, 120 x 120 cm Fascinator, 2020, acrylic on canvas, 120 x 120 cm Midnight, 2020, acrylic on canvas, 150 x 150 cm Gala, 2020, acrylic on canvas, 200 x 200 cm Cavort, 2020, acrylic on canvas, 120 x 120 cm Cluster, 2020, acrylic on canvas, 150 x 150 cm


Jubilee, 2020, acrylic on canvas, 200 x 200 cm



Curio, 2020, acrylic on canvas, 120 x 120 cm Temptation, 2020, acrylic on canvas, 180 x 150 cm (opposite)



Hoopla, 2020, acrylic on canvas, 150 x 150 cm



Allure, 2020, acrylic on canvas, 200 x 200 cm



Jitterbug, 2020, acrylic on canvas, 120 x 120 cm


Periwinkle, 2020, acrylic on canvas,120 x 120 cm


Perennial, 2020, acrylic on canvas, 150 x 150 cm



Entice, 2020, acrylic on canvas, 120 x 120 cm


Hustle, 2020, acrylic on canvas, 120 x 120 cm


Fascinator, 2020, acrylic on canvas, 120 x 120 cm Midnight, 2020, acrylic on canvas, 150 x 150 cm (opposite)



Gala, 2020, acrylic on canvas, 200 x 200 cm



Cavort, 2020, acrylic on canvas, 120 x 120 cm Cluster, 2020, acrylic on canvas, 150 x 150 cm (opposite)




BIOGRAPHY Michael McHugh has been painting for more than thirty years. His practice has consistently explored colour, composition and textural, abstract form with a strong connection to the natural world. McHugh collects a range of different photographs and drawings during research trips visiting museums, libraries and gardens around the world, returning to his Sydney-based studio to draw and create a series of collages which lead to large format paintings. With the use of gestural, acrylic mark making, McHugh creates a layered abstraction moving between the paintings’ surface and botanical shapes. Works are sometimes sombre and brooding, and other times energetic and vibrant, with textural layers echoing moments in time. McHugh believes constant drawing and collaging to be fundamental to his painting process. This foundation enables him to fully explore composition and vigorously push boundaries with colour and technique. Graduating from Whitecliffe College of Arts & Design in New Zealand, he has attended masterclasses in painting at the National Art School in Sydney, Australia. He currently works in the creative media industry, and also exhibits his work in Auckland, New Zealand. McHugh’s work is held in a number of private collections in New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom.