Allerton artist creates space objects, robots

Marion Hughes stands next to the display of more than 30 robots and spaceships made out of found items like plastic bottles and of imagination. The items are now on display at the NYPL Allerton branch.
Community News Group / Patrick Rocchio

An Allerton artist, who has created everything from fine art to crafts for decades, is at it again.

Marion Hughes, an 89-year-old artist has 32 space objects and robots that she built over three months on display at the Allerton Library through Monday, June 5.

The objects are made of discarded objects, painted disposable containers for the most part, combined with other everyday trash like corks, lipstick and drinking straws added for effect, said Hughes.

The display, which is on the second floor of the branch at 2740 Barnes Avenue near the children’s section, contains 16 spacecrafts and 16 robots.

They are designed to inspire and encourage young people to use their imaginations, she said.

Rather than use the whole palate of colors, Hughes chose to limit the colors to black and silver paint in hopes of enticing questions about the objects used in the minds of youngsters.

“I wanted the items to be uniform so that the children could better see the materials that were used and the shapes of the objects,” said Hughes.

The artist, a mother of three adult children, said that she is concerned because she believes that children today are having “their childhood’s stolen from them by electronics.”

“I want them to use their imaginations,” said Hughes. “That’s my most important message.”

The theme of the artwork, which is creativity from everyday objects, is evident in the containers and other materials used.

The artist also used empty ketchup bottles and peanut butter jars, toothpaste tubes, bottle caps, lint remover, wire, thumb tacks and bubble wrap to build her space objects.

In the past two years, she has had two other exhibits at the Allerton Library, including an exhibit called A Paper House of Furniture in 2016, which portrayed rooms in a house made almost entirely from paper.

Another showcase of her work at the Allerton branch, in 2015, portrayed women from around the world signing in an international women’s choir.

For that project, bottles were used, painted and clothed to look like women from Pakistan, China, the West Indies, Sweden, Mexico, Africa and India.

On this latest exhibit now, feedback has been positive, said Hughes, adding that an NYPL manager came to view the display and told her that children were descriptive in describing how much they admired the exhibit.

Hughes said that she became interested in art when she worked as a freelance textile designer.

She took professional art classes after entering Lehman College at the age of 54-years-old, she said.

A previous Bronx Times article from 1988 described her as “a consummate professional artist.”

She is a studio painter who works in oils, pastels and watercolors, as well as her personal favorite, pencil.

Reach Reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 260–4597. E-mail him at Follow him on Twitter @patrickfrocchio.

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