E.J. HughesMarch 12, 2004 - March 12, 2004
Comprised of 113 paintings, drawings, prints and watercolours, this major exhibition features some of the most important works from one of British Columbia’s outstanding landscape artists, E.J. Hughes. The works, spanning from the early 1930s to the present, represent key images of his time as a war artist during World War II and demonstrate his love of the landscape in his native province, British Columbia. Hughes’ paintings are famous for their stylized realism inspired by the likes of Rousseau and Vermeer, and for their dedication to important West Coast symbols such as ferries, mills and coastal villages.
The artist’s signature style, marked by the use of flattened space, skewed perspective and simplified shapes, defies parallels with other artists or easy categorization within artistic genres. All his work, distinctive for its clarity of form and colour, is based on direct observation, and Hughes often returns to an image, developing it through a detailed drawing, then a working cartoon or watercolour, and then, a completed canvas.
E.J. Hughes, the first comprehensive retrospective on Hughes since the 1980s, is drawn from public and private collections throughout Canada and includes prints, drawings, watercolours, oils and acrylic canvases.
E.J. Hughes was born in North Vancouver in 1913. He studied under Charles H. Scott, Jock Macdonald and Frederick Varley at the Vancouver School of Applied Art and Design. After graduating in 1933, and following two years of post-graduate studies, Hughes undertook print and mural projects with fellow art students. In 1939, Hughes joined the military and spent six years as an official war artist. After his discharge from the military in 1946 he returned to the West Coast of Canada, eventually settling with his wife, Fern Smith, in Shawnigan Lake where he began a lifelong study of the province and its landscapes. Hughes still lives in Shawnigan Lake, preferring a quiet, secluded life. He received the Order of Canada in 2001.
This exhibition comes to Victoria from the Vancouver Art Gallery and is curated by Ian Thom, Senior Historical Curator at the VAG. Thom is an authority on E.J. Hughes’s practice and is the author of E.J. Hughes, the catalogue that complements the exhibition.
Home Page Image Credits:
E.J. Hughes | Echo Bay, 1954 | oil on canvas | private collection