Artist Spotlight: Patrick Hughes

Patrick Hughes (born 1939) is an English artist living and working in London. A painter throughout his life, Hughes is credited with conceptualising and creating ‘reverspective’: an optical illusion in which paint is applied to 3-D objects and shapes, where the elements of the picture that seem furthest away (i.e. the horizon outside a window) are physically the nearest (typically by being painted on a raised section of the painted surface).


Vivid Venice, 2018 (oil and photographic collage on board construction), Patrick Hughes  (b.1939) / Private Collection


The three-dimensional surface that previously supported the perspective view now causes the perspective to accelerate and distort faster than would usually occur as one moves around an object; it is here that Hughes finds the most inspiring aspect of his art. Hughes continues to explore his reverspective work – which has been in demand for the last 25 years - and this commitment to his own unique style of painting ensures his work is instantly recognisable, making Hughes an artist whose work really has to be seen for one to truly understand its individuality.


Vivid Venice, 2018 (oil and photographic collage on board construction), Patrick Hughes  (b.1939) / Private Collection


‘’Patrick held his first solo show in 1961 at the Portal Gallery, London. It was the first one-man show by a Pop Artist, though they were not even called that then. A few years later, Hughes made two seminal reverse perspective works, Infinity and Sticking-out Room. In the 1970s Hughes’ name became synonymous with rainbow paintings, which also became very popular as prints and as postcards; people enjoyed them as decoration, but for Hughes the rainbow represented a solid experience.’’ – Hughes’ Website


A Cardboard Box, 2017 (oil on board construction ), Patrick Hughes (b.1939) / Private Collection


When viewed head on, his paintings appear natural, especially when seen onscreen. Impressive perspective and painting skills ensure that perspective-driven images always appear picture perfect. However, when one changes their perception of the work, by moving around the painting or perhaps craning their head slightly, walls shift, floors appear to move and what the eye can see is thrown out of order – perspective becomes deconstructed.


A Cardboard Box, 2017 (oil on board construction), Patrick Hughes (b.1939) / Private Collection


The way in which Hughes uses the shapes underneath his paintings is interesting – he doesn’t toy with just one perspective arrangement, but rather each painting uses perspective slightly differently. His works, which he refers to as ‘sculptured paintings’ are not easily forgotten once they are experienced in person – they are each an experience in movement, perception, and illusory space.


Rene Pablo Salvador, 2017 (oil on board construction ), Patrick Hughes (b.1939) / Private Collection


Hughes is also a writer and currently lives with his wife in Shoreditch, London. He has written books addressing themes that he has has displayed interest in with his artwork, as well as discussions on wider visual based media and culture in general.


Rene Pablo Salvador, 2017 (oil on board construction) Patrick Hughes (b.1939) / Private Collection



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