The Oaksmith Gazzetta - News, Insights, Musings

Colour, Surface and Materiality

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In our gallery we talked about artist Matthew-Robert Hughes’ colour popping frames.  In these, both the frames and the inside spacers (known as fillets) were painted by us to enhance his fantastically coloured landscape photographs.

In this new body of work, which showed at his first solo exhibition “AONOCOPIA: Two Suns and a Broken Rock” at London’s Cob Gallery in April, Hughes explores the notion of mythology and narrative through a series of objects, photographs and sculptures.

Most strikingly, a pair of brightly box-framed, three-dimensional prints are printed on metallic Kodak paper and sliced, folded and re-sliced to form sharp, minimal forms that hint at tribal masks.

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Matthew-Robert Hughes – Masks

His landscape photographs are shot on film before being hand-printed.  The colours are selected in the darkroom to best compliment his metallic choice of paper. This specialist paper enables Hughes to hint at the magical by creating something quite literally alchemical on its surface.

At the heart of his photographs are the use of colour, surface and materiality, which we at Oaksmith Studio enhanced with our highly bespoke frames for this recent show.

With paint for the frames and the spacers carefully selected by Hughes, we constructed his vision of a frame as an integral component of the photograph. The artist always uses anti-reflective UV glass to allow the shimmery quality and viewing ability of his pieces to be shown off at their very best .

On the subject of glazing, in the recent Kurt Schwitters (1887-1948) exhibition at London’s Tate Britain, it was inspiring to see his early assemblages from the 1920s re-glazed used anti-reflective glass. This total clarity enabled their three-dimensional nature to stand out, giving them a renewed freshness and vigour.

In the same way, with Hughes’s work, which is so linked with the notion of photography as object, anti-reflective glass greatly reduces any barrier between the artwork and the viewer whilst giving prominence to its tactile qualities.

Having studied photography at London’s London College of Communication and New York’s Photo Global, alongside his artistic activities, Matthew-Robert Hughes is also co-founder and director of the contemporary arts network Legion TV in Shoreditch, that people use for entertainment, the same as computer games using boosting from sites like


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Matthew-Robert Hughes Cob Gallery installation view

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Matthew-Robert Hughes photographs

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