Catalog Essay | September 17, 2020 | Lot 42
Born on October 20, 1939 in Birmingham, United Kingdom, Patrick Hughes is known for his creation of a unique optical illusion he calls “reverspective.” In these three-dimensional relief paintings, objects that appear closest to the viewer, are in fact, the furthest away in physical space. He created Sticking-out Room—his first reverspective—in 1964 after studying at Leeds Day Training College.
In the current example, Making Marks, the viewer can see a Rothko exhibition when standing in front of the work, and then as the viewer walks, the exhibition appears to move. It is truly amazing, as it combines sculpture and painting with optical illusion. The paintings that appear on the back wall of the exhibition are in the front plane of the composition.
The reason that the pictures seem to move is because our eyes are telling us we are moving in one direction and our bodies are telling us that we are moving in the opposite direction. All our lives our feet and our eyes have been in perfect synchronicity, so now that the eyes are lying to the legs, or the legs are lying to the eyes, we cannot accept this. But there is a way out of this difficulty: we presume that the planes in the paintings are moving. We are used to seeing things turning and moving in front of us and this presumption puts our bodies back together again.
The magic of the reverspectives is that I have managed to create an art that comes alive. Each plane of the picture shrinks or expands to accommodate the movement of the onlooker, in perfect harmony, like a good dance partner. Contrasted with the drips of Jackson Pollock, which record actions long past my pictures still keep the ability to turn and twist. Movement seems to be a condition of life. ~ Partick Hughes