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  • “I was looking for a way to make paintings that could set me free and decided to make landscapes that weren’t linked to a narrative or a reason. The landscapes allow me to access many other areas of concept and formal ideas outside of narrative based work. It can be both and neither at the same time. It can be figurative and abstract, a painting and an experience.” — Shara Hughes


    A person standing in front of a paintingDescription automatically generated with medium confidence
    The artist in her studio


    New-York based visual artist Shara Hughes is widely recognised for her surreal landscape and interior paintings that reinvigorate the viewer’s perception of reality, and the intense Fauvist- and German Expressionist-inspired palette that suffuses these invented, dream-like spaces.


    Hughes claims she is not merely a ‘landscape painter’, asserting that viewing art is a collaboration between the viewer and the artist in which each person brings their own experiences to the table. Thus she is not interested in representing her works realistically nor is she driven by narrative, but rather she balances scenes of improbable combinations with domestic familiarity, harmonising the fantastical and ordinary. Early in her artistic journey Hughes would frequently weave together a reverential mash-up of art historical references in a single painting. Allusions to the contemporary figurative painter David Hockney would sit side-by-side with Fauvist references to Henri Matisse, and Post-Impressionist allusions to Paul Cézanne. Experimenting with quilting together different techniques, juxtaposing colour combinations, and allowing each element to evolve logically or illogically ‘feels almost wrong but somehow mak[es] it right.’i


    “I was making like, a lot of minimal paintings about dead animals, but ones used as furniture. So for example, bear skin rugs and heads on walls and stuff, which then I think I turned into some larger kind of weird trend.” — Shara Hughes


    Legal Guardian is a window into multiple phantasmagorical worlds: the woven Navajo rug placed under taxidermy deer heads which are mounted on richly textured forest green walls, whilst a modern swimming pool with churning waters lies just beyond the studded doorframe. The disorienting shift in one-point and two-point perspective between the two worlds, together with the invisible presence of the titular guardian, pulls the viewer between alternating states of enigmatic fascination and cryptic repulsion.


    “I often think about my drawings as a run-on sentence that never ends. I believe the drawings work as a release of my subconscious rather than fully forming something that has evolved and resolved itself. I think they open up questions rather than answering them and that’s the kind of vulnerable edge I’m looking for.” — Shara Hughes


     Interview with Shara Hughes: Changing the Way We See



    Shara Hughes received her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2004. Hughes’ participation in 2017 Whitney Biennial led to wider acclaim for her fantastical interior scenes and boosted her international exposure. Her works are included in the permanent collections of the Dallas Museum of Fine Art, the Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Hughes will be the subject of upcoming solo exhibitions at Yuz Museum, Shanghai in November 2021 and Kunstmuseum Luzern, Switzerland in 2022 (alongside David Hockney).



    iShara Hughes, quoted in Marc-Christoph Wagner, ‘Interview with Shara Hughes, Changing the Way We See’, Louisiana Channel, April 2019, online

    • Provenance

      Parts Gallery, Toronto
      Private Collection
      Christie's, New York, 18 May 2018, lot 860
      Acquired at the above sale by the present owner


Legal Guardian

signed and dated 'Shara Hughes 2004' on the reverse
oil on canvas
141.6 x 168.3 cm. (55 3/4 x 66 1/4 in.)
Painted in 2004.

Full Cataloguing

HK$800,000 - 1,200,000 

Sold for HK$2,142,000

Contact Specialist

Danielle So
Specialist, Head of Day Sale
+852 2318 2027
[email protected]

20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale in Association with Poly Auction

Hong Kong Auction 29 November 2021