Landscapes that shift with the eye

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Landscapes that shift with the eye

Landscape paintings freeze time and space. They capture the moment. Some landscape paintings, however, have a way of making the scene appear to be literally moving, as if the scene had come alive. This is achieved not through special effects, but by changes in perspective.
The work of Patrick Hughes, 64, a British painter originally from Birmingham, epitomizes this concept of “moving pictures.” His second solo exhibition in Korea began on Monday at Park Ryu Sook Gallery in Cheongdam-dong, southern Seoul.
His art captures the moment and the movement with a change in the viewer’s angle. At first glance, the paintings appear one-dimensional. But somehow the walls, doors and corners in the paintings move to another position as the eye transverses the work of art.
Closer inspection reveals that the painting is actually three-dimensional, and points that appear to be receding into the horizon actually are protruding, what Mr. Hughes has termed the “reverse perspective” method. The artist achieves this effect by cutting into blocks of wood so that they project in a triangular pattern, and he paints them so that what appears far is actually close, utterly confusing viewers’ perspective. It is visual trickery at its best.
Mr. Hughes’s art combines elements of surrealism and realism by showing doors that open to natural scenery, Oriental doors obscuring the Great Wall of China and galleries featuring paintings of renowned artists, such as Munch. His works are anything but somber; they are quite cheerful through the chosen subject matter, such as bookshelves (Hughes is said to be an avid reader), paintings of the master artists and the common elements of nature.
Lee Jin-suk, the gallery curator, describes Hughes’s works as “vibrant and energetic.”
She adds, “He has a positive outlook on life. His trademark use of reverse perspective is actually creating virtual reality space, a way of conveying a fun and happy attitude toward life.”
A total of 18 oil paintings on wooden canvases and six of Hughes’s engravings are on display at the gallery. His works feature doors leading to breathtaking views of nature, gallery walls and oddly configured bookshelves.
Mr. Hughes’s works make the viewer visualize more and imagine more than what the eye sees. The focus is on changing the viewer’s perspective. Hence, the title of his works include “Perfectspective,” “Retrospective” and “Persuasivespective.”
Mr. Hughes’s paintings are on display at the Tate Gallery in London, the Arts Council of Great Britain, the Museum of Modern Art in Glasgow, Ireland and the Victoria and Albert Museum, also in London.
The Hughes exhibition, titled “Moving Pictures,” runs until Sept. 30. Entrance is free for all ages.

by Choi Jie-ho

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