Eric Hancock reviews the exhibition Shara Hughes: Guess You Had to Be There at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia, on view through June 28, 2014.
Hancock writes that Hughes "prioritizes spontaneity of gesture, giving a nod to the expressionist trust in paint’s ability to attain natural equilibrium of concept and form. Fast-moving paint washes are asserted alongside globs, sprays, and scumbles with equal intensity and success. Pictorial space emerges from a sharp, sumptuous, and unrelenting investigation of paint. Discordant color combinations buzz with tension. Improvised figures are woven into narratives that are reinforced by the artist’s frank hand and easy assertion of depth… In these new works, the fragmentary assembly of painted passages melds well with an interrupted and occluded cast of characters. The slippery and emotive psychology of the painting’s characters, judging from their intimate and sometimes violent interplay, is aptly conveyed through shifting narrative sequences. Non-continuous horizons and spatial perspectives allow the viewer to see through a prism of pure feeling. Psychology oozes from the paintings and, sometimes, the bright and snappy presentation accommodates characters that interact with a benign violence."