Born in Belfast in 1965 and now living in County Sligo, Ronnie Hughes studied at the University of Ulster, Belfast, receiving an MA in Fine Art in 1989. Hughes has had numerous solo exhibitions throughout Ireland and has participated in many group exhibitions worldwide. 'Strange Attractors', a large survey show of his recent work, took place in 2017 at the Royal Hibernian Academy (RHA) Dublin. Irish Times art writer Gemma Tipton described this show as 'op art extravaganzas that make your eyes ache; bursts of geometric shapes that seem to warp the flat surfaces of the paper and canvas into pinnacles and troughs; and grids of line and colour to take your senses for a walk through a series of endless mazes'. Hughes's work has been written about extensively and he has received a multitude of awards, including a one-year residency in New York (PS1, 1990-91) and three-month residencies at Banff Arts Centre, Canada (1994) and Bemis Arts Canter, Nebraska (1997). In 2006 he was awarded both the 'Irish Artist Fellowship' - a one-month residency at the Vermont Studio Center and a two-month residency at the Albers Foundation in Connecticut.
Over the past few years my paintings have taken a small number of elements and developed these over time until a larger and more complex entity, or 'state', has been formed: The works tend to evolve over a long time period and are generally process-driven to the extent that I don't plan or, in most cases, have any sense of the outcome until the works get close to completion. My role is to steer and nuance the process; to balance the elements and, just as often, to disrupt them. I like to think of the formal elements of colour and shape as 'vibrational' energies.
In the larger universe what appears to be random or chaotic actually tends to contain a hidden template, structure or pattern. Conversely, regimented order seems to be constantly gnawed at and undermined: That dialogue fascinates me and, through the work, I'm interested in exposing these unseen forces, the things that lie beneath appearance.
If one looks closely it becomes apparent that I literally construct different strata (i.e. existing at different depths) within the painted surface and there is a comparable attempt to foster different associative and representational qualities simultaneously. Ultimately I would like the work to be both interesting to look at and to think about.