Through collaged paintings that incorporate found objects, my work is a negotiation of material and metaphor, acknowledging false dichotomies and moments of awkward 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 the hesitancy and awkwardness of being inarticulate, it is a nod to the human experience of simultaneously knowing and not knowing.

As a person who often finds myself “cactus tongued,” and unable to verbally and eloquently express my thoughts, I feel a kinship towards the out of place items in my surroundings. As I move through the spaces I inhabit - walks around my neighborhood, drives to and from work - I pay attention to these often-discarded objects, left in ditches or on curbs. Compelled by their color, shape, and texture, I pick many of them up and take them back to my studio. 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.


b. 1987

Kristy Hughes holds an MFA in Printmaking from Indiana University. She was recently awarded a Liquitex Research Residency in conjunction with Residency Unlimited in Brooklyn, NY, Sept.- Oct., 2017. She has also attended residencies at The Church in Troy, NY, The Studios at MASS MoCA, Stutz Artists Association in Indianapolis, and a full fellowship at Vermont Studio Center.

She has had solo exhibitions at Plough Gallery in Tifton, GA, Gallery 924 in Indianapolis, Butler University, and Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center in Bloomington, IN. She has shown in invitational and juried group shows across the US.

Kristy works part-time at Valdosta State University in Southern GA.