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Russell Hughes Art

'Lost Synergy' - 2022 SCAF Emerging Artist Award Finalist

'Lost Synergy' - 2022 SCAF Emerging Artist Award Finalist

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 This highly layered mixed media work was a finalist in the 2022 Scott Creative Foundation Emerging Artist Awards, and is currently on show in their exhibition (see my blog posts for details). The work is on sale through the Scott Creative Arts Foundation


Title – ‘Lost Synergy’

Medium – Mixed Media (Monoprint, Collagraph, Drawing, Acrylic Medium).

Size – 100 x 73cm approx.

The work questions the loss of synergy experienced when co-operation between nation states is disrupted.

Such co-operation takes many forms – the work specifically considers co-operation to improve mutual safety and security given the international nature of terrorist and criminal organisations.

Prior to leaving the European Union, UK authorities made extensive use of the Schengen II (SIS II) database, which provides a mechanism for member states to share and act on real-time data on persons and objects of interest. Sharing such data appears a good example of co-operation for overall mutual benefit (i.e. synergy).

The UK is no longer entitled to use SIS II, with a proposed alternative solution considered by a House of Lords committee to be less satisfactory. Co-operation has been disrupted, synergies are likely to have been lost, the consequences for our security are unknown. Public consideration of such matters has been missed or avoided.

This political process is directly reflected in the development of the ‘Lost Synergy’ work, with layers within the work representing stages of Data creation, Connection and Co-operation, Disruption, Obscuration and Distraction.  


To represent SIS II data, a set of imagery was created alluding to identification and tracking of persons and objects, data entry, and database processes and alerts, representing the building blocks of co-operation and synergy. Some of the imagery has been left recognisable, some abstracted. The underlying layers of the work have been created from this imagery by monoprinting, collagraphs and image transfer.   

Connection and Co-operation.

Elements of the data set have been grouped and connected, emphasised by drawing boxes and lines, to form new shapes and patterns. This represents the sharing of data, co-operation for mutual benefit, and achievement of synergy.


The printing surface has been torn into two pieces and the right-hand side offset. A dark printed line along the torn edges emphasises disruption. Horizontal lines drawn between data elements no longer connect. Co-operation has been disrupted and synergy has been lost. 


Images have been partially erased and masked in the printing and transfer process, a reference to lost data and lost opportunities as well as lack of public information about these matters.   


A final layer of monoprinted colour and shape references flags as symbols of nationalism and distracts the viewer’s attention from the detail in the underlying layers. Much like meaningless populist slogans distract attention from detail and fact.   








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