Patrick Hughes’ paintings seem slightly surreal but unspectacular on first viewing. That is until you walk around and the perspective of the work shifts to match your viewing angle. We watched many a visitor leave in a confused stupor, trying to understand what’s happening.
Get side-on to the painting and all is revealed. The paintings are actually three dimensional, projecting out of the wall in layers. Once yours eyes figure out the illusion, walking back round to face the painting breaks the confusion. But blink once and the seams disappear and the illusion is re-established. It’s impressive and frustrating in equal measure. It also inspires a feeling of inadequacy in how your vision can be so easily, and repetitively, fooled by what is essentially a simple visual trick.
But it’s credit to Hughes’ precise technique that it’s impossible to spot the layers when facing the painting. Perfecting these works must be a painstaking process. We’ve only seen two of his paintings before so are looking forward to a solo show where we’ve been promised subjects as diverse as the works of Roy Lichtenstein and the canals of Venice.
Patrick Hughes: Perspectivism is on at Flowers, 21 Cork Street, W1S 3LZ from 24 April to 18 May. Admission is free.