New Clayton Utz Art Partnership includes artist Michael McHugh


Aitutaki, 2023, acrylic on canvas 100 x 100 cm
Aitutaki, 2023, acrylic on canvas 100 x 100 cm
A new exhibition of works by artist Michael McHugh is being presented by Clayton Utz as part of the Clayton Utz Art Partnership and Development & Curatorial Partner 3:33 Art Projects.

Now in its sixth year, each exhibition under the partnership sees two contemporary artists showcase their work in the offices of the law firm.

The current exhibition in Sydney features McHugh and fellow New Zealand-born artist Joanna Braithwaite, two artists whose works explore the natural world in exuberant ways.

“This is a fantastic opportunity to showcase my work alongside my good friend Joanna Braithwaite,” says McHugh. “The environment that Clayton Utz Sydney and 3:33 Art Projects have created is world class and I feel very fortunate to be part of this program, showcasing work from the last three years.”

Long-standing friends, Braithwaite has been a guiding influence on the progression of McHugh’s professional career. Braithwaite is a multiple Archibald Prize finalist with an impressive exhibition history across Australia and New Zealand.

United by a deep love of painting and the natural world, the paintings of Braithwaite and McHugh are sure to delight viewers through the palpable energy and joy present in each of their works. Each create exuberant paintings that evoke new worlds, and which also comment on environmental concerns and our relationship to plant and animal life.

McHugh’s art practice investigates colour, composition and textural abstract form. To create his large-format paintings, McHugh draws upon photographs and drawings collected during research trips to museums, libraries and gardens around the world.

With his research material at hand, McHugh returns to his studio where constant drawing is fundamental to his painting process, allowing him to fully explore composition and vigorously push boundaries with colour and technique, while also creating new organic forms.

With the use of gestural acrylic mark making, McHugh creates a layered abstraction moving between the paintings’ surfaces and botanical shapes.

McHugh’s largest work to date (200 x 600 cm) and first public piece, Swimming in the Clouds (2022), was commissioned for the Public Gallery in Melbourne’s Boroondara Arts Centre in the Hawthorne Town Hall Gallery in Melbourne and will be shown for the first time in NSW in the Clayton Utz Art Partnership in Sydney.

He is represented in Sydney by Martin Browne Contemporary Gallery, and Föenander Galleries in Auckland.

Learn more about the exhibition below, or click here for more information.


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