• Fri. Dec 8th, 2023

James Hugonin

ByAndrea Christodoulides

Oct 13, 2015

Ingleby Gallery: until 21st November


Ingleby Gallery plays host to seven of James Hugonin’s paintings from his new series Binary Rhythm. The gallery’s large, white-cube style rooms are the ideal setting for Hugonin’s wonderfully free-flowing yet painstakingly methodical paintings. The artworks are deeply subtle with a sense of musicality.


After thirty years of working on his own, Hugonin decided to work with a team of six in a studio-based environment to make his grand-scale ideas come to reality, a collaboration that the artist implored the importance of during his artist talk at the exhibition preview. Whilst speaking at the opening, Hugonin appeared to be awe-struck by his own recent collection due to the accumulative complexity of simple colour resulting from corresponding, pre-determined numerical combinations.


In museum fashion, a small room is dedicated to a facsimile of one of the artist’s notebooks. Displayed in a glass tabletop case, the notebooks help the viewer to understand the underlying skeletons of his work. Hugonin’s integral notebook depicts the relationships between the numbers and the colours. Despite being un-enamoured by mathematics from an early age, the building blocks of Hugonin’s Binary Rhythm series are solely based on the translation of numbers to colours.


Hugonin derived much influence from Abstract Expressionism and was fascinated by Seurat’s pointillism, which he spent four days poring over in an exhibition. Working with an underlying grid, Hugonin creates tiny gaps of light between the columns of colour, breathing an air of freedom into the work eliminating the complexity and harshness of the strict structure for the viewer.


Hugonin is interested in extreme detail and organisation. The works are large, and dominate the space, inviting the viewer to gaze at them from afar and then gently move closer, subtly changing their perception and appreciation of the painting. The gallery floor allows the viewer to really get a sense of space and really appreciate the full potential of the work.
The paintings, even if they are constructed in such a methodical, almost mathematical way, still seem to be creative and beautiful works of art. The paintings are easy to look at, and can be interpreted by both art-lovers and music-lovers alike. Viewers that scrutinise abstract art will not be able to appreciate the works of James Hugonin. Despite the artist’s explanation and accompanying notebooks, there was still a slight sense of misunderstanding, which is perhaps down to the sheer complex nature of the abstract work.


Image Credit: Luke Simpson

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