Subscribe To the newsletter

Laura Hughes


I combine light and space into site-responsive installations that bring heightened attention to peripheral visual information we regularly encounter within architectural boundaries. Responding to the features of a given space rendered visible through light and shadow, my work provokes a re-evaluation of the routine experience of seeing. By manipulating the properties of light and space, my objective is to produce experiences that question our certainty of our surroundings and prompt larger revelations about the nature of perception.

My current focus involves creating temporary installations that bring awareness to how light shapes, and is shaped by, surrounding space. Responding to light and shadow through architectural features such as windows, railings, walls or skylights, I use light, paint, or reflective surfaces to project, trace, reflect, or refract light: capturing and enhancing fleeting illumination that is often overlooked. Applying a phenomenological perspective that perception is not simply a question of vision but involves the whole body, I challenge distinctions between artwork, viewer and the surrounding environment so that the viewer’s physical presence plays a crucial role in how the work unfolds. This may result in effects that shift relative to one’s position, instances when the artwork itself may be barely distinguishable from ambient light, or occasions when the viewer’s presence may appear altogether obliterated as they cast no shadow against a simulated patch of light on the wall before them.


Laura Hughes is a visual artist creating site-specific installations that investigate how light, form and space surround and shape one another in our perceptions. Often directly responding to the given features of a space using light, paint, and reflective surfaces, her work amplifies and enhances fleeting instances of illumination that are usually overlooked.

Currently based in Portland, Oregon, Hughes recieved a 2012 Fellowship from the Oregon Arts Commission, was a finalist for the 2013 Contemporary Northwest Art Awards from the Portland Art Museum, and was nominated for the Brink Award from the Henry Art Gallery in Seattle in 2011. She has been awarded project grants from: the Regional Arts and Culture Council, the Oregon Arts Commission, the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Alberta Foundation for the Arts. She received an MFA in Visual Studies from the Pacific Northwest College of Art (Portland, OR) and a BFA in Drawing from the Alberta College of Art & Design (Calgary, AB).

Hughes has recently exhibited at the 10th Northwest Biennial at the Tacoma Art Museum (Tacoma, WA), LxWxH (Seattle, WA), Disjecta (Portland, OR), White Box University of Oregon (Portland, OR), Archer Gallery at Clark College (Vancouver, WA), Gallery Homeland (Portland, OR), Pacific Northwest College of Art (Portland, OR), Ditch Projects (Springfield, OR), Appendix Project Space (Portland, OR), Vehicle at Pioneer Place (Portland, OR), Portland State University Department of Architecture (Portland, OR), and the Portland Building (Portland, OR). She is currently a professor at the Pacific Northwest College of Art and Marylhurst University.