Second Retroperspective, 1992
Signed, titled and dated verso '92'
Oil on shaped board
48 7/8 x 97 1/4 x 13 5/8 in, 124 x 247 x 34.5 cm
British contemporary artist Patrick Hughes developed the concept of ‘reverspective’ during the late 1980s as a radical reimagining of the laws of perspective and space. These unique three-dimensional relief paintings...
British contemporary artist Patrick Hughes developed the concept of ‘reverspective’ during the late 1980s as a radical reimagining of the laws of perspective and space. These unique three-dimensional relief paintings create an optical illusion that reverses our traditional notion of perspective by physically projecting the most distant points of the picture back to the viewer. This disorientating movement between flat canvas and the third-dimension fashions a visual puzzle that forces the viewer to look again. Hughes delights in unravelling the assumptions that our eyes make about reality and deconstructing artistic representation, explaining: “In my reverspective, you have a contradictory and paradoxical experience. I wouldn’t think they’re beautiful. I think . . . they can be awe-inspiring.”
‘Second Retroperspective’ forms part of a series of works by Patrick Hughes inspired by the Dutch abstract artist Piet Mondrian. In this example the walls of an interior exhibition space lurch out towards the viewer, each defined by Mondrian’s rhythmic language of form, line and vibrant colour. Plunging the viewer into this network of abstract grids, Hughes emphasises the disorientating perspective of his work by referring to Mondrian’s deconstruction of space to its simplest terms. Hughes’s reference to Mondrian is also a means to mock the notion of an entirely pure abstract form. In contrast, Hughes argues that an artist can never truly achieve perfect balance and harmony because of the fundamental nature of human perception.
Patrick Hughes is regarded as one of the most successful artists working in the UK today and has been represented by the Flowers Gallery in London since 1970. His work can be found in international public collections including Tate, London; Louisiana Museum, Copenhagen, Victoria & Albert Museum, London; British Council; Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester and Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. In 2014 Hughes received an honorary degree from the University of London’s Advance Study for his contribution to education and research.
Flowers Gallery, London
Private Collection (acquired from the above in 1992)