Hugo Canoilas' art has, in his own words, a strong link to art history and the art evolution as it occurred during the first period of Modernism. His work takes on different media, using popular aesthetics, the representation of politics and ideas from philosophy, poetry and history. Emphasis is on painting as a material and metaphor. Painting is, in his view, an ultra-sensitive means to register the signals of the world, and a powerful tool to sensitize the spectator and hence the world.
The artist (born 1977 in Portugal, lives in Oeiras) is part of a generation of Portuguese artists who process legacies of contemporary art, taking inspiration from certain artists from the Anglo-American and Latin American contexts, who at certain moments, for example in the sixties, developed poignant art proposals. The recent Portuguese artistic inquiry is interesting: in the history of the country, a sense of isolation and separation from the main centres and main histories are recurring features. Nowadays these negative aspects seem to grow into positive assets and incitements. (As a parallel one could think of the artistic case of the relatively isolated city, harbour and island of Vancouver.)
The current art scene in Lisboa and Oporto is vibrant. Hugo Canoilas has an active part in it, next to his many international activities. His art is informed by the 1960s' experiments in art and life; his works contain explicit references to artists that inspire him, for instance Hélio Oiticica, Barnett Newman and Blinky Palermo. At the moment Hugo Canoilas is immersed in a research on the theme of the fall, the act of falling, and the idea of gravity (attraction and fatality).