It’s been a couple years since I traipsed around the River North gallery district, and every time I go, I wonder why I stayed away so long.

Last time I was there, the objects of my fascination were by Jorge Simes. He paints historical landscapes or buildings, the lays an “blueprint” over the top that relates to the topic at hand. The clever part is how he creates that blueprint — it’s with words.

Take for example his work “Gettysburg”:


The landscape is the Gettysburg battlefield. The white blueprint of the Lincoln memorial is the Gettysburg address, written in tiny white script.

I actually liked several of his other concepts better, but you get the idea. You can pass a good chunk of time staring at it.

So yesterday we visited a few galleries. The very last piece of work we saw kept us mesmerized literally for 10 minutes. We squatted. We shuffled from side to side. We jumped up. And leaned over. Because at every angle the work looked different. And I wish I could do it justice in 2-D!

The artist is Patrick Hughes. Here is the $65,000 piece we saw:


It caught me so off guard that as I approached it to get a closer look, I nearly bonked my head on it. I didn’t realize it was 3-D.

If I were to lay the piece on the floor, you would see three pyramids about 10 inches tall, with the tops being the three small lighter-colored rectangles in that run across the piece. The illusion happens because the corners of the buildings that look closest to us are actually in the valleys of the pyramids. So as you move from side to side (or up or down), you’re seeing more or less of the side planes of the pyramids. And this makes it appear that the picture is moving.

I’ve seen one of his works before, in the lobby of one of our partner agencies. I passed it several times before I realized what it was.

Now I just need to figure out how to create one of these myself.

(See more of his works here.)


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