A witty, dark and sensitive humour runs through the work of British artist Des Hughes (b. 1970). His  practice is an obsessive, physical enquiry into the traditions of sculpture, rethinking conventional methods and materials. Nothing is as it first appears: crudely modelled clay is meticulously cast in resin but, with the inclusion of marble or iron dust, could easily have been carved from a block of stone or forged in a blacksmith’s furnace. He collects, he dismembers, he puts things back together in fragments, or leaves pieces in an unfinished state or just leaves them in pieces. There is always a tender acknowledgement of the canon of modernist sculpture, and of the fragile heroism inherent in the handmade object.
Alongside this sculptural work, textiles have also become a potent aspect of his practice. Whilst time-consuming, his embroidering looks spontaneous, like a handwritten scrawl. His cross-stitch is self-taught and has a distinctly amateur appearance; raw edges and wonky letters give his samplers a homespun quality.
Des Hughes completed an MA in Fine Art at Goldsmiths College, London in 2002, following a BA in Fine Art at Bath College of Art in 1994. Hughes' has exhibited in many institutions including, Nottingham Contemporary (2010)  Manchester Art Gallery (2013) The Henry Moore Foundation, Perry Green, UK (2014) and The Hepworth Wakefield, UK (2015-Spring 2016) and his work is held in major collections including Arts Council Collection, The Hepworth, Wakefield, The David Roberts Foundation and Manchester Art Gallery. He lives and works in Herefordshire.