Sunday, February 23, 2014

WW1 Ship Camouflage as Hughesual

Above Photograph by Steve Ibbitson of British artist Patrick Hughes, holding an Ames rotating trapezoid window. From John Slyce, Patrick Hughes: Perverspective (London: Momentum, 1998).


In 2011, when British artist-writer Patrick Hughes published a book of his artwork, word play and related contrivances, called Paradoxymoron: Foolish Wisdom in Words and Pictures (London: Reverspective Ltd, 2011), we blogged about his paradoxes, both visual and verbal.

Still amazingly productive, now he's come out with a wonderful documentary film, produced by Jake West, a rich engaging memoir called Hughesually: The Art of Patrick Hughes.

At a certain point in the film, Hughes begins to talk about the rotating trapezoid window of American artist and optical physiologist Adelbert Ames II, and its relevance to his own perspective-related research. It was Hughes who devised an ingenious means (which he calls "reverspective") of painting perspective scenes on odd-shaped inverse surfaces, which causes the painting to visually bend as the viewer's point of view is moved.

In that previous post, I  talked about the link between Hughes' paintings, Ames' illusory window, and the adoption in World War I of a variety of ship camouflage called dazzle painting.

Last August, at an international conference at the Sydney College of the Arts, titled Camouflage Cultures: Surveillance, Communities, Aesthetics and Animals, I suggested an analogical link between the participant-observer's view of the various Ames demonstrations [see news pictorial below] (looking through a monocular peephole from a fixed point of view) and the periscopic point of view of a German U-boat commander (as shown in the slide illustration below).

News feature in Herald-Journal, Logan UT, July 4, 1954