Patrick Hughes

You can search for his stuff online or on youtube.  To be honest unless you see it in real life you probably wont feel it.  Video is the next best – here is a good one

Undeniably powerful, but they do raise interesting questions about art and technology.  I would lump Hughes in with phenomenological artists, but I think he would rather be an outsider, especially with his kind of backward appreciation of surrealism and Magritte that stylistically hampers a modern interpretation of his work.

Interview with Patrick Hughes – lifted direct from his website – (sorry? got lazy)

Murray McDonald, August 2003

Murray McDonald: How did you start in art? Patrick Hughes: When I was nineteen I went to a training college to learn to be a teacher, specialising in English. We were asked to write about our six favourite authors, mine were Eugene Ionesco, Laurence Steme, Franz Kafka, Lewis Carroll, Samuel Butler, N.F Simpson They said their idea of Eng.Lit was the Brontes, Thomas Hardy and George Eliot, so I should take the art option.

MM: What did you learn at college? PH: The art course was a basic design course, Bauhaus influenced. So I never did life drawing. Although abstract art did not interest me, I soon got into Paul Klee.

MM: Some of us might find it hard to see Klee as part of your foundation? PH: I take three things from Paul Klee, organisation, humour, and invention. He was very varied – I have tried to be. His principle of organising the space and then deciding what it is to represent I still hold to. But I never wanted my work to look like Klee, or Magritte for that matter.

MM: I’m glad you mentioned Rene Magritte. I know he is your model artist PH: Magritte at his best, in The Human Condition, The Blank Signature, On the
Threshold of Liberty, is ineffable. He knew how to get behind the surface of things,
with a hundred strategies and witty discombobulations. I don’t particularly like what
Magritte’s paintings look like, I like what they think.

MM: What is your philosophy, what do you want people to get from your art? PH: My philosophy is paradox. I am of a logical cast of mind, and find common sense hopeless. Philosophers have found paradox cropping up at the crux of every enquiry, and have tried to explain away this vicious circularity. I embrace the contradictory and celebrate the paradoxical. 
A paradox to me is like a pearl.

MM: How would you compare your earlier work with your perverspeetive ? After all you were a successful artist for thirty years before you decided to devote yourself to this sculptural painting. PH: I hope people remember my earlier work – The Space Ruler, Infinity, Sunshine, The Endless Snakes, Prison Rainbow – I had some very good ideas, refined ideas. But I was telling people about paradox. With reverse perspective I am letting the viewer experience a paradoxical relation between the self and the work of art.

MM: In your reverspectives you have externalised the structure of perception. Were you always interested in perspective? PH: Not at all. I preferred to have my art flat, two-dimensional. So when I made the Clown in 1963 he was made to lie on the ground as if flattened by a steam-roller. I was always interested in perception, and kept up with the Ames demonstrations and JJ.Gibson’s Our Perception of the Visual World. But I have studied perspective very closely in the last fifteen years.

MM: People confuse the solemn with the serious, the literary with the learned, the autobiographical with the real I know your work inside out, and I find you an outsider in today’s art world PH: I have always believed that one should wear one’s learning lightly. I am not a clown who wants to play Hamlet: on the contrary. I studied paradoxes, (with George Brecht) puns (with Paul Hammond) and oxymorons (on my own). These findings were published in three popular books, influential, complete, and original. But I would never let this research show overtly on my art work, it is in my art and in my heart.

MM: What do you think art is? PH: I like the idea that art is a lingua franca, a language that we can all read. For someone so literary, I abhor words as back-up for visually inadequate visual art. I am not interested in the personal in art – we are all persons – some want to be more personable than the rest of us – creeps.

MM: What do you hope people take from your work? PH: I believe they have an experience, unlike any other, in which they see the impossible happen. And I hope that they then think a bit about why that is. If lookers and seers experience the paradoxical and reciprocal relation between parts of the world and themselves, they get a sense of the flow of life.



About Phil Lambert

Visual artist based in Cardiff
This entry was posted in References to other artists, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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