Patrick Hughes “Perspective In Perspective”


poster for Patrick Hughes “Perspective In Perspective”
[Image: Patrick Hughes "Steps to the Stars" (2017) Oil on board construction 23 7/8 x 63 x 9 7/8 in.]

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Patrick Hughes has achieved recognition around the world for his lifelong exploration of perspective and visual paradox, through which he has engaged in a historical dialogue with the masters of the Renaissance and Surrealism, and has been aligned with scientific discoveries in the field of three-dimensional visual perception. In an upcoming exhibition at Flowers Gallery New York, Hughes presents new sculptural paintings, which explore an increasingly complex spatial and pictorial imagery.

Ever since the creation of his first ‘reverse perspective’, the Sticking Out Room, more than fifty years ago, Hughes has continued to confound viewers with his three-dimensional paintings, which appear to move in conjunction with the lateral movements of the viewer. The foundations for this discovery were set in 1963, when he made a sculpture of railway lines in perspective coming to an abrupt vanishing point. Looking at the piece from the ‘wrong’ end gave Hughes the idea to elaborate on this idea by making a room in reverse perspective, imagining the vanishing points at the position from which the work would be viewed.

The genesis for Hughes’ fascination with the concept of spatial reversal and visual paradox can, however, also be traced to his childhood during the Second World War. At his family home in the English town of Crewe, the safest place to hide from the German bombs was in the cupboard under the stairs, where Hughes spent many hours looking up at the stairs from underneath, the wrong way around.

The staircase has emerged as an important pictorial element within recent works such as Steps to the Stars, a highly complex three-ended shape, where the form of the central steps and risers are constructed from multiple planes in reverse perspective, and painted using conventional perspectival techniques. Lining the walls of each staircase are rows of paintings, pointing toward the symbolic, conceptual and narrative value of the staircase throughout the history of art.

Over the past fifty years, Hughes has developed myriad shapes and visual motifs, creating mazes, arcades, libraries, galleries, boxes, cameras, doors, and images of the city of Venice. The painting Reverspective in Perspective, seen in this exhibition, portrays a repeated cube-like construction of book-lined walls within a diminishing forced-perspective trapezoid shape. Viewed from left to right, the image is perceived as fluctuating between two conflicting vanishing points, drawing attention to the complex nature of ‘what we see’.

Patrick Hughes lives and works in London. Widely recognized as one of the major painters of contemporary British art, his works are part of many public collections including The British Library; The Tate Gallery, London; Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow; Deutsche Bibliothek, Frankfurt; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and Denver Art Museum. Hughes has exhibited in London and throughout Europe, Asia, America and Canada. Recent solo exhibitions from 2014-17 include Landscapes Reconstructed, Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies, Banff, Canada; Forwards to Backwards, Leeds College of Art, UK; Made in Britain, Galerie Boisserée, Cologne, Germany; Op Art - Kinetic Art - Light, Würth Museum, Schwäbisch Hall, Germany; Patrick Hughes: Moving Spaces, Osthaus Museum, Hagen, Germany; Gallery 360, Northeastern University, Boston, USA; and Moving Space at Panorama Mesdag Museum, The Hague, The Netherlands. His work also featured in the exhibition Visual Deception II: Into the Future which toured museums in Japan from 2014-2015, via Tokyo, Kobe and Nagoya.

Patrick Hughes was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science degree from the University of London’s School of Advanced Study. Pioneering collaborative research between philosophers, psychologists and neuroscientists has included experiments using his ‘reverspective’ paintings in combination with an MRI scanner to determine the parts of the human brain which process spatial clues. Hughes has also lectured at the American Institute of Physics; UC Berkeley’s conference on neuroaesthetics; the State University of New Jersey and the Byers Eye Institute, Stanford University, USA.



from September 07, 2017 to October 14, 2017

Opening Reception on 2017-09-07 from 18:00 to 20:00


Patrick Hughes

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