Kez Hughes’ September show has only just come down. And on reflection, I must add what a delight it was to work with her. One morning back in August, Louise and I went along to her home-based studio to conduct an interview and see how the works were progressing. Met at the door by Mr Pickles, an enthusiastically small, fluffy dog and looking a little startled, Kez greeted us reassuringly: (don’t worry) Benjamin (Man of My Dreams) Rowett has the coffee on.
Sweet relief. Interviews that start like this often go well.
Hughes’ house, which she shares with three other artists is bursting with artwork – photography, paintings, big and small – some recognisable from friends’ Melbourne shows. A graduate of the VCA and admittedly ensconced in a group of like-minded, supportive artists she feels incredibly lucky to live the way she does.
One work we recall from the May show she curated at Techno Park Studios; a photograph by Nicola Dracoulis, a gift, she says. I think back to a line in Peta Mayer’s accompanying essay: ‘Masculinity is Tony Abbott walking away from an interviewer’s question.’ How apt. Ben brings in the coffee and carrot cake and after covering off technique, motivation, philosophy and work ethic, we’re taken out back to the small studio.
We instantly note how clean it is. And she’s quick to point out that the documentary realism of her works can hardly hide any surreptitious transfer of mislaid paint. Stuck to the wall are two photographs of works she’s in the process of replicating.
The completed canvas, depicting an installation view of Peter Atkins’ work in Greenaway gallery sits on the floor, uncanny in its likeness. With an exacting eye for mixing colour and creating shadow, Louise and I are so amazed Hughes offers us a painting lesson. I tried to follow the simple instructions on ‘how to draw a horse’ once in one of those drawing for dummies books. All I can say is, I hope Hughes has more luck. Results will be posted here in due course.