“The painting is not moving because it isn’t really a painting at all.”

— Patrick Hughes

Patrick Hughes — master of puns, paradoxes, and perspective — brings to the metaverse his unique technique of forced perspective using physical sculptural paintings. He calls this technique reverspective. 

In his reverspective paintings — a technique Hughes developed himself — Hughes builds painting surfaces that protrude from the wall, typically in a series of pyramid shapes set side by side. His unique effect is achieved by a forced perspective scene in which the point that’s farthest in the picture is actually the point that is physically nearest the viewer: the top of the pyramid.  

“What seems to be near is the farthest point and what seems to be far is actually the nearest point, which causes it all to move. By making things in perspective, you can get them to come alive.”  

— Patrick Hughes

When viewed straight-on, a reverspective painting will appear to be a flat surface. Still, as the viewer moves about the painting — even just a tilt of the head or a subtle shift to one side — its tricky perspective becomes a confounding three-dimensional scene, quite unexpected and disorienting for our pattern-seeking minds. 

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“It’s essential, in my work, that you should not only look at them, but you should move with them because they will move with you in a kind of a dance.”

— Patrick Hughes

Patrick Hughes’ first exhibition was in 1961, and his first reverspective, Sticking-out Room, was made in 1964. Hughes’ original painted reliefs are concerned with optical and visual illusions, the science of perception, and the nature of artistic representation. He has written and collated three books on the visual and verbal rhetoric of the paradox and oxymoron. He has made a hundred editions of screenprints and is making his way towards a hundred editions of multiples.

In the 1970s, Hughes’ name became synonymous with rainbow paintings, which also became very popular as prints and postcards; people enjoyed them as decoration, but for Hughes, the rainbow represented a solid experience.

In the late 1980s, Hughes revisited exploiting the difference between perspective and reverspective and solidifying space. For the last 25 years, his 3-D reverspective paintings have been hughesually in demand, exhibited around the world, and featured in many public collections. 

The experience of seeing a Patrick Hughes sculptured painting, in reality, is really to experience unreality and the paradox of illusory space and movement.

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“A hundred years of modern architecture has created, all over the world, a geometric environment that is overbearing, mute, mechanical, and alienating.

Empty City uses this visually daunting material to make, in my reverspective technique, a picture which comes to life when visited by a human being, a person who brings to these sterile verticals and horizontals movement and life, invigorating the Empty City with a personal perspective which is always changing.” — Patrick Hughes

  • Editions: 15/17 (2 editions reserved for artist)
  • Pricing: $500


Sea City is my recent multiple made in 2022 in a signed edition of 100. As a creative exercise, I decided to base this image on the same shape, in every detail, as an earlier multiple Banksi: to see if I could create the same kind of movement and sense of space using completely different imagery for the frontal planes and the bottom of the piece. 

“Where there were graffitied walls in Banksi, there are Venetian palazzi in Sea City, and where there is a concrete pavement in Banksi there are shadows and reflections of the Palazzi in the lagoon. I think Sea City creates the sensation of reverspective just as well as Banksi.” — Patrick Hughes

  • Editions: 15/17 (2 editions reserved for artist)
  • Pricing: $500


“This work of mine is not only built in the technique I invented some fifty years ago; the innovative and much-imitated reverspective, but it is also made in perspective as if it was already hanging on a wall and being seen by a viewer. 

“A Newer Perspective contains many of my favorite paintings: M.C. Escher’s puddle reflecting the sky, René Magritte’s The Human Condition, a Feininger of broken colored glass, Paul Klee’s Highways and Byways, Dali’s great soft watches, Wayne Thiebaud’s agriculture seen by an expert in perspective, Lichtenstein’s ironical brush strokes, the Man Ray lips floating in the sky, and a great drawing by Saul Steinberg. A New Perspective is my tribute to the imaginative artists who have inspired me.” — Patrick Hughes

  • Editions: Open (2 editions reserved for artist)
  • Pricing: $250

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