John Mc Hugh - October 2006

John McHugh
John Mc Hugh is a sculptor living in Achill. His work relates directly to the surrounding landscape and village built environment and the local community. He has exhibited in Ireland, at the Project Arts Centre, Dublin, Abha Teangai Achill, the Crawford Gallery, Cork, Model Arts Centre Sligo, Limerick City Gallery, Guinness Hop Store, RHA Dublin and in the US at - Mitchell Gallery, southern Illinois. An out-door Exhibition at Southern Illinois University, Vergette Gallery and a solo outdoor exhibition in Illinois. He has received awards from Arts Council of Ireland, Dept of Foreign Affairs and Mayo Co Council.

John also co-ordinates the work of the Achill Heinrich Böll association. This provides an international residence for writers and artists in the cottage of the Nobel Laureate Heinrich Böll on Achill Island. He is manager of the Custom House Studios in Westport, which provides studios for visual artists, an international exchange programme and printmaking studio with gallery space operating a full exhibition programme each year.

The Work

This work is strongly informed by a sense of place. The drawings evolved from studies of landscape - to describe being in a familiar and specific landscape - the artist's impressions and emotions emerging from personal knowledge and feelings of a familiar place.
The sculptures are made in a traditional fashion using wood, found metal and concrete fragments. These refer directly to the local environment of Dooagh village in Achill. Imagery evoking a period of the 1930's - 1980's informed by the artist's personal history and memories emerge through the sculpture works.

The concrete are fragments of the built environment of the village as it changes and is renewed. Houses built using concrete in the 1930's and 1940's are now being demolished to be replaced by modern homes. The village pier gets eroded each winter, a place of importance and significance in the village. The wood is bog deal - wood uncovered from bog lightly worked in a craft technique. Found metal items are the remains of recent familiar farm and household objects.