Sea Views by Patrick Hughes

  • This painting by Patrick Hughes creates an intriguing and perplexing optical illusion
  • Three-dimensional planes create the illusion that the painting is moving as the viewer walks by
  • Hughes employs precise perspective to create this illusion
  • Inspired by elements of Pop Art and Surrealism, Hughes paintings are completely original
  • Get complete item description here
Item No. 31-5726

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Patrick Hughes
b. 1939 | British

Sea Views

Signed, titled and dated “Sea Views / Patrick Hughes / 2017” (en verson)
Oil on panel

Almost defying definition and description, the artwork of London artist Patrick Hughes explores perspective in a most fascinating and puzzling way. His signature 3-dimensional constructions, dubbed reverspectives, challenge the idea of traditional perspective, instead creating a completely unique visual experience. These constructions appear to move in conjunction with the viewer’s movements, inviting participation and sparking curiosity.

Hughes has long been intrigued by ideas of illusion, visual irony and how one can be misled by the familiar. This work, entitled Sea Views, employs an ordinary beach scene punctuated by gallery walls displaying, ironically, more seascapes, including the famous Japanese woodblock print by Hokusai entitled The Great Wave off Kanagawa. Hughes’ work often possesses a surrealist quality. That influence is felt keenly in this particular work, not least because of the recreation of paintings by René Magritte and Salvador Dalí, while the manipulation of size and perspective itself offers an inherent uncanniness.

Hughes coined the term reverspective for these types of constructions, which he describes as “perspective in reverse.” He utilizes the traditional idea of one point perspective in which an artist can create the illusion of receding space and dimensionality with converging lines upon a single vanishing point on the horizon line. However, he reverses this concept by bringing these lines forward into space using 3-dimensional planes, but still abides by a strict vanishing point. Hughes says, “When the principles of perspective are reversed, the mind is deceived into believing that a static painting can move of its own accord.”

The panel’s construction is a proprietary technique developed by the artist. Starting from large panels of wood, the artist forms trapezoids and triangles that are then glued together to form 3-dimensional shapes that jut out from the flat plane of the wall. Then, 2-dimensional images are manipulated in photoshop and given the proper perspective for their placement within the composition. These images are translated precisely onto the panels in oil paint, creating the illusion. Perfection of line, light and shadow is essential to the final outcome, and, all told, a reverspective painting can take up to three months from start to finish.

Hughes created his first reverse perspective work in 1964 with a life-sized room for the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London entitled Sticking-Out Room, thus beginning his long fascination with perspective illusions. He has since then authored several books on themes in relationship with his art, including visual paradoxes and oxymorons. He also holds a doctorate in science from King’s College in London for his work in the psychology of perception. Today, his work resides in the permanent collection of the British Library and the British Academy in London.

Dated 2017

Panel: 11" high x 29" wide
Frame: 18 3/4" high x 36" wide
Sea Views by Patrick Hughes
Maker: Hughes, Patrick
Period: 1919-Present
Origin: England
Type: Paintings
Depth: 5.0 Inches
Width: 36.0 Inches
Height: 18.74 Inches
Canvas Width: 29 Inches
Canvas Height: 11 Inches
Sea Views by Patrick Hughes
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