Reconfigured Realities

by Chad Hughes

 in The Nicholson Gallery


Artist Statement: I use still life to enable myself to become more expressionistic in the application of the paint; the construction of the painting. Fascination with surface quality, transparency, light and the abstraction that the glass lends the painting draws me to the still life. I am constantly intrigued with the construction of a painting and its resolution in paint.


Examining the surface quality of a painting I try to express the light in the individual marks and abstract arrangements. Ultimately I am excited when the painting can be observed from a variety of distances and create completely different statements. Conceptually the work is about the visual beauty that exists even in the most dire of times, to be experienced viscerally.


In this exhibit I have included a few older pieces. Personally I prefer retrospectives that allow me an understanding of the process an artist experienced on their current works. My art education was traditional in all aspects, I was always inquisitive in the nature of how things were constructed and how they worked. My earlier pieces show the logistics of orchestrating a composition. Although the image is representational in its final stage I have concerned myself with its smaller parts and “marks” left on the surface of the canvas. At one point I eliminated color in an effort to explore the mark making in earnest. The arrangements became more complex allowing the movement of light through the glass to create its own distortions and abstractions. How to take this further? I watched my students as they changed focus from  individual objects in a composition and changed scale and proportion just as readily. I Used a grid to isolate areas in a smaller 12×12 rendering and reconstructed these areas on a larger format. Each square of the grid observed independently from any other area.  I found the grid was restricting so losing the grid I developed my first love, drawing, directly as part of the painting. To draw and paint these pieces I use a 3 foot bamboo stick with the charcoal/paintbrush in the end. As I move around the painting I find that the still life also changes depending on my position. The painting is about incorporating these time and point of view changes directly into the painting as it develops. Hence the still life set up is the visual problem and the painting becomes the solution.


Chad Hughes lives in Durham and is an adjunct professor at North Carolina Central University where he teaches painting, drawing, and humanities. He will be teaching a master class on Painting Resolution at The ArtsCenter on Saturday, January 15th 1-4pm. More information on the class is available here.


Opening Reception: Friday, January 13th 6-8pm in the Nicholson Gallery and will be held in conjunction with the 2nd Friday ArtWalk. The exhibit will be on display January 5-31.

January’s Emerging Artist

Kristina Keeter

in The ArtsCenter’s Corridor




Interdisciplinary artist Kristina Keeter creates minimal, abstract works using ordinary materials as inspiration. With simple sculptural, photographic, and illustrative techniques, she transforms everyday subject matter into surreal, enigmatic imagery.


Kristina was born in 1989 and lived in various states across America before moving to Colorado at a young age. She received her BFA in Photography and Sculpture from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2012. After moving to North Carolina on a whim in 2015, she now resides in Chapel Hill.


Artist Statement: My work is an observation of the overlooked – I’m drawn to the beauty of unaltered, found forms and often find myself trying to capture the ephemerality of such forms. I’ve also always been inspired by the organic textures, patterns, and colors found in nature. I prefer a handmade, tactile approach to making things over technological processes, and it’s this hands-on method that drives my experimentation and creativity.


Opening Reception: Friday, January 13th 6-8pm in the Nicholson Gallery and will be held in conjunction with the 2nd Friday ArtWalk. The exhibit will be on display January 3-31.



If you are interested in exhibiting in the Nicholson Gallery at The ArtsCenter, click here for an application. Applications are accepted on a continuous basis for the Nicholson Gallery. Applications for the Emerging Artist Series will be accepted during select periods. The ArtsCenter will be accepting EAS applications again in the Spring 2017. For more information, contact the Gallery Coordinator Heather Gerni Mulaiya at hgerni@artscenterlive.org.



  • Annual ArtsCenter Exhibits:

    • Student Exhibit (March)
    • Instructor Exhibit (September)
    • Community Art Exhibit (December)



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