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'Bastard Blue' by Paul Hughes in The Complex Depot, Friday 27th May 5-10pm

A new body of work by Paul Hughes presented in The Complex Depot from 5pm - 10pm on Friday 27th May only.

Paul Hughes lives and works in Blackrock, Co Dublin, where his studio for the last 15 years has been an old “pig barn” which has provided the opportunity to explore scale in his works. Hughes was a co-founder of Rothco, one of Ireland's most successful creative agencies which was acquired by Accenture Interactive in 2017. Rothco first started from a woollen fabrics shop in Blackrock in south county Dublin using a name inspired by the American artist Mark Rothko. Hughes left the company in 2020 to focus on his artistic practice and Bastard Blue is the culmination of a year's work in his studio.

"For a long time I struggled with blue, for me it was the colour of logic, order, organisation.

And while I’ve nothing against logic, it’s never been how I work. My process doesn’t do order, my paintings don’t start with a destination. Instead they’re born in the chaos of the doing, painted on the ground, they evolve, they mutate, depending on the light that day, the music I’m listening to, as I move in constant motion around them. And that wasn’t blue. And then, like the lover in a Charlotte Bronte or Jane Austen story that the protagonist first hates but then loves, blue revealed itself. I started surrounded by the wild elemental scapes of land, sea and sky, between the Beara and the Iveragh on the Atlantic-lashed coasts near Kenmare. There, looking at its blues, sometimes for days on end, I saw blue wasn’t order or calm, it was wild, seductive, raw, ungrounded. That it wasn’t one shade, it was a million. That far from being the reassuring presence of the paintbox, was the maddest, craziest, bastard there was. That like the sirens of Greek mythology, could change from softness to malevolence in a split second.

And that’s what I wanted to paint."

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