b. 1987

Kristy Hughes lives and works in South Georgia, where she teaches at Valdosta State University. She holds an MFA in Printmaking from Indiana University and a MA and BA from Eastern Illinois University. She was recently awarded a Liquitex Research Residency with Residency Unlimited in Brooklyn, NY and has also attended residencies at The Studios at MASS MoCA, Stutz Artists Association in Indianapolis, and a full fellowship at Vermont Studio Center.

Hughes has shown in invitational and juried group shows across the US and internationally. She has an upcoming solo exhibition at the Turner Center for the Arts in Valdosta, GA in September and will be artist in residence at The Hambidge Center in May 2019.


Through collaged paintings that incorporate found objects, my work is a negotiation of material and metaphor, embracing false dichotomies and moments of in-between-ness. My ongoing body of work is entitled “Cactus Tongued.” The title alludes to the phenomenon of being strongly compelled to voice an opinion, but struggling to articulate the specificities and complexities of an idea. Acknowledging this frustrating state of internal confidence but external hesitancy, it is a nod to the human experience of simultaneously knowing and not knowing.

 As a person who sometimes finds myself “cactus tongued,” I feel a kinship towards the out-of-place items in my surroundings and collect discarded objects, compelled by their color, shape, and texture. Most of them are trash, cardboard, and plastics: things like deflated balloons, an old automobile spoiler, and a torn-up Georgia Lottery sign. These materials are the impetus for my work; they act as words that I collect, rearrange, and eventually present, as a way to articulate ideas that aren’t necessarily verbal. They represent experiences, as they are relative and dependent on context, but also have the potential to be transformed. The precariousness of “Cactus Tongued” acts as a metaphor for the intricacies of miscommunication.