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In the 1970s and 80s, Hughes began to turn his attentions to rainbows - a now-signature motif across his oeuvre. Yet these colourful curves are expressly anti-romantic in Hughes’ work, sprouting from dustbins or letterboxes, in pictorial play with the real, the everyday, the banal world around us. “A Rainbow,” Hughes writes, “is a transitory event composed of water, air and light. I tried to give it a mass, permanence and personality.” Anchoring the magical in the familiar, Hughes explores and challenges our conception of ephemerality, filtered through the surreal - undertones of which are never far from the surface of his paintings. Hughes has participated in a number of group and solo exhibitions across the UK, Europe and the USA. His work can be seen in number of public and private collections including the British Council; The Victoria & Albert Museum; and the Print Collection at the Tate Gallery. Today, Hughes lives in East London, where he continues to work on his ‘Reverspective’ practice, which reverses the perspective of three dimensional objects and structures - proof, over half a century after the inverted staircase encounter, that some things hold onto their ‘permanence and personality’.
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