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If you thought these paintings were by Kez Hughes, you’d be a little bit right, for each image has a prior life in the individual oeuvres of other Australian artists.

Confounding ideas of authenticity and originality, Hughes re-presents the work of fellow artists as appropriation art. But as surely as Romantic ideals are subject to scrutiny, Hughes reasserts high-cultural values through an emphasis on formal painting techniques. And her curatorial selection constitutes an oblique index of cultural capital that heightens the anxiety of the outsider spectator.

Part homage, part pastiche, Hughes’s visual engineering effects some slight alteration and degradation of the original image, and these shifts along the signifying chain allegorise the act of meaning-making. The outlaw artist is a maker and collector who recreates her favourite pieces for her own pleasure. 


Dr. Peta Mayer

Image: Kez Hughes 2023

Leda and the swan (after Heather B Swann)

oil on linen 182.5 x 66.5 cm. Finalist for the Sir John Sulman Prize 2023

Documentation: Storm Gold

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