Mary Hughes is a native Bostonian who began her painting career at ten years of age when on vacation in Maine with her grandparents. Her grandmother, an amateur painter, gave her a postcard of the Atlantic coast with a wave crashing on rocks, which Mary then meticulously copied in oil. Her awkward teen years thankfully involved high school art classes and summer art programs at local museums and art schools. That eventually led her to the painting program at Boston University, where she earned a BFA. She later pursued a MFA at Massachusetts College of Art.
The landscape has remained a constant inspiration in her artwork, from the direct pleine air painting she did in locations such as southern France, the west coast of Ireland and inland New Hampshire. Even in the abstract imagery that has dominated her work for the past decade or so, references to nature are evident.
In her current work, Mary explores mapping, mark making and the passage of time. The drawings and paintings are built upon meandering lines formed in reaction to previous layers, recalling contour maps, topographical lines and nautical charts. The organic forms reference the landscape while also referencing abstract patterning — mark-making as an act of confirmation.
Mary has exhibited in solo and group shows at the Copley Society of Art, South Shore Art Center, the St. Botolph Club, the Bromfield Gallery of Art, the Woodstock Museum of Art, the Painting Center and various exhibition spaces throughout New England.
She has received several awards and fellowships, including the Fulbright Scholarship and a Residency at Anderson Art Ranch in Colorado. Her work is included in public and private collections in the US and Europe. Mary’s studio is located in the historic Fenway Studios in Boston, which she happily shares with her hound dogs Millie and Elsa.