Lifestyle & Parenting

Five questions with Patrick Hughes

October 2, 2012

Before British artist Patrick
‘ exhibit Perspectivariations opens at Winsor
I caught up with him to talk Mondrian, Rothko and railways.


Kelsey Dundon: You play a lot with perspective and specifically
reverse perspective. What made you begin experimenting with this?


Patrick Hughes: In 1963 I had an epiphany on Leeds Central railway
station. I was waiting for the train to London one Saturday morning and
I noticed that the railway lines ahead of me came to a point, the point
of infinity. (I had been brought up in Crewe, Cheshire, a railway town,
and I often travelled on the railways and still do.) I thought to myself
I could make a silver and black set of railway lines that come to a
point more quickly. I made these and exhibited them on the floor in my
second London exhibition at the small Portal Gallery. About a year later
I thought of making a sitting room in the same forced perspective, but
this time the wrong way round, with the back wall at the front. I made
this out of wood and doll’s house wallpaper. Making things in
perspective is taking experience as a solid rather than an ever-changing
relationship. By the process of irony – no one believes railway lines
actually come to a point – one can make the point that our experiences
are relative, fluid, subject to change.



Kelsey Dundon: Your work is part painting and part sculpture. What do
you hope people experience when they look at it?


Patrick Hughes: My pictures are sculptured paintings. It is as if one
could take a painting of an interior in one’s hands and pull it out
towards you, along its perspective lines. At one time there was a feeble
movement, started by Dave Smith in the USA and copied by Anthony Caro in
England, of painted scuptures. My sculptured paintings are of solid
space, and because they are made in reverse perspective the viewer or
seer makes them move in a reciprocal dance with the seer. This
experience of making the picture move in perfect harmony with the
art-lover makes the pictures come alive and the seer sees how his or her
mind and body are inextricably linked.


Kelsey Dundon: You often incorporate imagery from other artists in
your paintings. Why do you like to reference others work?


Patrick Hughes: The imagery I use in my geometry can be of galleries and
rooms with paintings in. I have referenced books and bookcases, Venice
and skyscrapers and so on, but other people’s paintings is a favourite
topic. I started by painting an exhibition by Mondrian, putting him into
reverse perspective, to make fun of his rigid verticals.When they are
seen from the side, or even slightly to the side, they will inevitably
not be horizontal any more but will be in perspective tending
towardsinfinity. Mondrian did not let infinity into his pictures, so I
put it in for him.

Kelsey Dundon: If access were no issue and you could fill your home
with any work from any artist, which pieces would you choose?


Patrick Hughes: Some of the artists I reproduce I love, like Magritte or
de Chirico or Klee or Escher, some have no particular interest to me
like Rothko or Warhol or Hockney or Hirst. In my own house I have two
Escher prints, two Lichtenstein brushstroke prints, one Magritte
etching, and three works by Saul Steinberg, two by de Chirico. I am
collecting the work of artists I admire. I would like to buy a Paul
Klee, he was my first favourite artist when I was a student. I like his
humour and formal invention.

Kelsey Dundon: Youre based in London and your work is in some of the
worlds biggest galleries like the Tate. What most excites you about this
upcoming show, which is in a smaller gallery in a smaller city on the
other side of the world?


Patrick Hughes: I am excited to be showing in the splendid gallery of
Jennifer Winsor for the second time, my work looked very well here last
time I exhibited. I am pleased to be showing in Vancouver which I have
been visiting for forty years. An artist wants his work to be seen
everywhere and my works are all over the world.


Patrick Hughes Perspectivariations is at Winsor
Oct 3-Nov 10.


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