Patrick Hughes Biography

Posted by Edward Kurstak on

Patrick Hughes is a British artist who works in London. Born in Birmingham in 1939, he attended James Graham Day College in Leeds, where afterward he taught at Leeds College of Art. He eventually left that role to produce artwork independently, and his early pieces are characterized by a sense of playfulness and rejection of the serious tone of many of his contemporaries, who focused on sociopolitical issues regarding race, class and more. However, his early work remained incredibly experimental: he inquired into visual paradoxes and oxymorons, and by the early '60s was honing in on how viewers perceive perspective and illusion. One example is his 1960 painting “Liquorice, Allsorts,” which takes the well-known candy confections and flattens them into graphical forms by featuring them at side- and bird’s-eye angles.

It was in the ‘60s that Hughes also developed his most well-known illusory trick that he continues to paint with to this day: “reverse perspective” or “reverspective” point of view. Blending 2D and 3D design and harkening on traditional trompe l’oiel, Hughes’ reverspective works are painted on pyramid-shaped canvases that protrude from the flat surface of the frame and provide optical possibilities for the artist. With reverspective, the sections of the painting that appear to be the furthest away from viewers are in fact the closest. As Hughes himself explains:

“Reverspectives are three-dimensional paintings that when viewed from the front initially give the impression of viewing a painted flat surface that shows a perspective view. However as soon as the viewer moves their head even slightly the three dimensional surface that supports the perspective view accentuates the depth of the image and accelerates the shifting perspective far more than the brain normally allows. This provides a powerful and often disorienting impression of depth and movement. The illusion is made possible by painting the view in reverse to the relief of the surface, that is, the bits that stick farthest out from the painting are painted with the most distant part of the scene.”

(Source: LookSeeNow)

Edward Kurstak gallery currently has several Patrick Hughes pieces for sale, including PURISM 2006, pictured below: a 3D hand-painted lithograph signed and numbered by the artist. Contact us today to learn how you can add an original Patrick Hughes piece to your collection. 

Patrick Hughes PURISM 2006