Briel Hughes (b. United States, 1994) received a BFA in painting and cultural language studies from the Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, GA in the spring of 2016. Her work conveys the essences of nature while implicating cultural symbolism through portraiture. Hughes has exhibited in various group exhibitions in Savannah, GA and Lacoste, France. Currently, she lives in Rennes, France pursuing her art and teaching career.
The writings of the Transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson have left a fond imprint on the way I evoke the medium of paint through spiritually connecting that to nature. The forest is never astray from my pieces. Philosophically depicting the notions that the landscape is part of our own inner core.
For the past seven years I have been confined in environments that are too hot, flat and industrialized. My ideal ‘paysage’ are covered in mountains, evergreen trees, deer, moose, and the cold air that pierces the skin. These visual perceptions and senses make me feel alive. I am lacking these sensations and to put myself at ease, creating works of art that somehow incorporate this idealized nature can act as escapism, in order to resonate the bliss of being in the woods.
Currently, I am working on personalized stretchers to stretch leather over and exposing sections of the wooden frame. The subjects are portraits of people representing different cultural backgrounds. They are depicted by their ethnic status and usage of cultural symbolism through clothing and jewelry. I am using traditional methods and poses to paint the figures, which arises the juxtaposition of contemporary versus the classical methods of aesthetic. The idea of stereotyping an individual by their appearance and cultural status allows play onto how the viewer identifies the portrayal of each portrait.