Simon Hughes’ work includes painting, drawing and video. He completed his Bachelor of Fine Arts at the University of Manitoba School of Art in 1996 and his Masters of Fine Arts at the University of California, Irvine in 2010.
Using watercolour, ballpoint pen, shiny stickers of people and various collaged materials. Hughes has created drawings that propose architectural fantasies, scenarios, and northern landscapes, each infused with pop culture, historical, Canadian references, and humour.
Hughes’ “sticker people” are caricatures representing the peoples of Canada. They mix and mingle in improbable surroundings. The minute details and references elicit multiple narrative possibilities. Northern Landscape envisions the battle for the Arctic lands, climate change and non-sustainable resources.
In more recent work Hughes has moved to a smaller scale, borrowing distinctive period palettes of ochre, browns, oranges and playing with the styles of other painters such as the Group of Seven. Exurbia Borealis is bridge between Hughes earlier architectural explorations and his purely abstract pieces. His rendition of the Northern lights appears to shimmer in the sky. As the artist explained: “the Exurbia Borealis works depict the grandeur of the Northern Lights over the most generic and accessible of environments, where the majority of the residents are most likely inside watching television, unaware that a sublime and sacred experience – one that some would travel around the world to see – is regularly available to them should they choose to see it.”