Hughen/Starkweather is the collaboration of San Francisco artists Jennifer Starkweather and Amanda Hughen, who have worked as a team since 2006. Together they create research-based, abstract artworks about specific topics or locations. Each project begins with intensive research, including maps, photographs, data, and interviews with community members. (More about their process here.) Similar to early cartographers, dependent on inconsistent tools and word-of-mouth information, the artists follow an unpredictable trail of information. The resulting drawings and paintings reinterpret complex narratives, creating new and unexpected forms. By allowing the artworks to resonate with the collected data without presenting it in a didactic way, the artists do not attempt to offer solutions or concrete information, but hope to prompt questions and new perspectives in the viewer.
Hughen/Starkweather have exhibited widely, including the Asian Art Museum (SF), the Public Policy Institute of California (SF), University of San Francisco, and the Contemporary Jewish Museum (SF). Their commission to create a permanent public artwork embedded in the glass exterior and roof deck of the Union Square Central Subway Station in downtown San Francisco will open in 2019. Hughen received an MFA from UC Berkeley and has been an artist-in-residence at the DeYoung Museum of Art (CA), the Headlands Center for the Arts (CA), Oxbow (CA), and Yaddo (NY). Starkweather received an MFA from Tyler School of Art (PA) and has been an artist-in-residence at Ucross (WY), Skowhegan (ME), Oxbow (CA), and Ragdale (IL).