Hugh Hamshaw Thomas is a London based artist who trained at Central School of Arts & Crafts and Bath Academy of Art (Corsham). While studying as a Painter he spent much time exploring sculptural concerns. In the 1990s he received critical acclaim for his large scale installations that categorised plastic flowers into pseudo botanical collections. These works explored ideas of mortality, trace and memory through discarded plastic flowers found in cemetery bins and charity shops and asked questions as to what was being represented through simulacra.
His work has continued to question ideas of representation and in recent years particularly through Landscape. With digitally manipulated photographs Hamshaw Thomas plays with conventions of composition and colour to make images that appropriate and reconfigure ideas of the historical and pictorial again asking what function these might perform as to idealised notions of place..
His current work has returned to those earlier themes of mortality within the botanical metaphor through the use of Cyanotypes and print.
Botanical Study 1994 / Mixed Media
9.94 EAST International
‘The high point of the show, my prize-winner, however, was Hugh Hamshaw-Thomas with a remarkably simple but effective series of works. He lined a corridor space with flowers, all of them artificial, picked up from the street or graveyards. Arranging them like some 19th-century botanist, many were placed in bottles and plastic containers, as varied as the specimens they contained, and all neatly lined up on shelves. While these fake flowers never wither, some bore signs of wear; soiled and tattered by time they provided us with sad mementos, revealing the aura and pathos to be found in simulacra.’
Art Monthly / Mark Durden
Instagram: HHT (@hughhamshawthomas)