No Business Like Show-Business

‘Never look back’ is perhaps a somewhat incongruous statement from an artist about to launch a retrospective documenting his last half-century in the art world: 50 Years of Show Business.

Angel 1960
Angel 1960

However, Patrick Hughes – ‘ponderous’, and ‘not the excitable type’ – is perhaps not always what you’d expect from the man dubbed the ‘godfather’ of UK surrealists.

The show will present about 50 works, aiming to exhibit one for every year since his inaugural show at London’s Portal Gallery, a few minutes away from the upcoming retrospective at East London’s Flower’s gallery.

Leaning on Landscape 1979
Leaning on Landscape 1979

Hughes is perhaps best known as the pioneer of ‘reverspective’, or ‘reverse perspective’ – a practice which  sees him investigating perception and illusion, often using his iconic rainbow motif to do so.

Rainbows 1980
Rainbows 1980

Liquorice Allsorts 1973
Liquorice Allsorts 1973

The Space Ruler 1965
The Space Ruler 1965

He has also written a number of books, his latest beingParadoxymoron: Foolish Wisdom in Words and Pictures, which he describes as ‘more or less unreadable.’

He says, ‘writing is the research for the paintings – I like to know what I’m doing. I like to create a theoretical background.’

Angela Flowers, founder of Flowers Gallery, which has represented Hughes for over 40 years, says, ‘When planning my new gallery in 1969, there was one artist who stood out as my golden choice for the opening exhibition – Patrick Hughes.

‘His paintings, sculpture and graphics were brilliant, exciting, witty and thought provoking. He was a very important artist, and forty years later my opinion of him and his work has only been more enhanced.’

Railway Line 1963
Railway Line 1963
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