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Born in 1939 Patrick Hughes had no formal art education and was largely self-taught. He became fascinated by paradoxes and visual trickery at a young age. He sheltered from the German bombs during the Second World War under the staircase of his grandparents house, and was riveted by what a staircase looks like from underneath- the reversal of its normal self. From 1964 to 1969 he was Senior Lecturer in Painting and Drawing at Leeds. His first solo show was at the Portal Gallery in London in 1961.He has held several one-man shows particularly at the Angela Flowers Gallery and has participated in various group exhibitions in the UK and Europe. His work is in several private and public collections including the British Council, the Victoria & Albert Museum and the Print Collection at the Tate Gallery. In 1979 he won first prize at the Tolly Cobbold/Eastern Art National Exhibitions. His first one-man exhibition in New York was held at the Edward Weston Gallery in Soho in 1983.
In the 1970s and 80s Hughes was inspired by rainbows, ‘A rainbow is a transitory event composed of water, air and light. I tried to give it a mass, permanence and personality.’ Hughes rainbows are the reverse of the romantic: hard-edged, leaning against walls, emerging from dustbins, posted through letter-boxes. They exemplify those qualities in art which he cherishes above all: the paradoxical, the absurd, the magical and the poetic. Hughes’ surrealistic leanings have been influenced by artists such as Paul Klee, Marcel Duchamp and Rene Magritte.