BIO & STATEMENT
Artistically speaking, the day I saw Twyla Tharp’s dance troupe on the cover of the New York Times Magazine, I fell in love. This was the mid-seventies. I’d studied art in college and finished an MFA, always gravitating toward the figure. The liquid movements typical of Tharp’s choreography looked like dripping paint to me, and before long I’d wangled an introduction to the company from acquaintances at McCarter Theatre in Princeton. I did my first series of dance paintings around Tharp’s “Deuce Coup,” Push Comes to Shove” and “Eight Jelly Rolls.” The strutting, sauntering and shrugging dictated the handling of the medium. I still try to channel my subjects’ movements and attitudes into the way I handle paint, so my paintings of different subjects can look quite different.
I worked with several other dancers over the next few years, then went back to school, studied abroad, taught design and founded an educational magazine, before retiring and returning to art full time. Since returning to painting, I’ve continued to work with the figure. A series of faces of friends and family led to studio sessions with costumed actor-models, looking for faces, figures and attitudes (humorous, ironic, pugnacious) that suggest lively minds and evoke interesting responses. Human subjects, whether still or in motion, project atmospheres around themselves that I try to capture. I’m not sure everyone else can see these “energy-environments,” but I find them endlessly interesting and suspect that I will never run out of subject matter for new paintings.
Patricia Hughes was born in Philipsburg, PA, in 1948 and grew up in Irwin, 25 miles east of Pittsburgh. She studied art from 1960 through 66 through a scholarship youth art program at the Westmoreland County Museum and then attended Gettysburg College, from which she received a BA with Departmental Honors in Fine Art in 1970. She received an MFA two years later from Penn State University, then married John Hutchinson and moved to New Jersey. Living in Pennington, she taught in the art departments of Mercer County College and the College of New Jersey through the early 1980s, and worked with McCarter Theatre, painting dancers and other performers.
In 1982 she began studies at New York University, spent a year at Oxford, UK, from 1985 to 86 as a Fulbright Scholar, and received a PhD in Design and Technology Education in 1987. She worked at Drexel University from 1987 to 1990, developing and editing TIES Magazine, a monthly publication for teachers focusing on the subject of her dissertation, the integration of art and engineering in a new educational field, Design and Technology Education, modeled on the British Craft, Design and Technology program. The publication was moved to the College of New Jersey in 1993, where Dr. Hutchinson continued as Editor in Chief while teaching and directing the Children Design and Engineering Project, funded by the National Science Foundation. She retired in 2007 and moved with her husband to Belmar, NJ, where she was a founder and chair of the Belmar Arts Council. Throughout her career she has continued to paint, and since retiring has been painting and showing her work in New Jersey, Philadelphia and New York. She has recently completed several murals in the area. She is a member of the Salmagundi Arts Club and Audubon Artists, NY, and is a trustee of the Belmar Arts Council and the Algonquin Arts Theatre, NJ, and the Fulbright Alumni Association.
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