Mat Hughes - 'This time, this place'

Wednesday 1 - Saturday 18 March 2023


Recipient of the TACIT Still Life Prize 2021 - Curator's Prize

We are all visitors to this time, this place. We are just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love… and then we return home.  Australian Aboriginal Proverb

Mat Hughes is a Melbourne-based photographic printmaker originally from the UK, now based in Elwood.

This body of work comprises of ten handmade prints. Working with traditional large format cameras, compositions are exposed on sheet film. Hughes' practice bridges traditional and digital technologies. These works have been printed using the Van Dyke Brown process patented in 1895. Paper is coated by hand with light sensitive emulsion, exposed, developed, toned with gold, and finally finished with a beeswax polish.

Mat Hughes is a pictorial printmaker in the traditional sense. Working mostly in landscape, he has less interest in today’s tendency to depict objects more or less literally and instead seeks to interpret the emotions, beauty and impressions that a scene may arouse. To a large extent the artist in photography is handicapped by the fact that the camera is essentially a very efficient copying machine. The artist therefore must learn to control the medium every step of the way with an instinctive sense of what is beautiful in line, form and tone and seek out the essence of simplicity and balance. The artistic process presented in these works cannot therefore simply be thought of as the automated actions of a camera. These works move across disciplines and set a place at the printmakers table. A sharp reminder that modern photographic printmaking that combines handmade tradition is an exciting place to be.

Waterfalls is an ongoing project started in 2020 with Sheoak Falls, a finalist work in the Heysen Prize for Landscape.