City of Glass

In 2011, Ashley Hanson read Paul Auster’s metaphysical detective novel, ‘The New York Trilogy’ relating, as a painter, to the author’s manipulations of truth, reality, identity and chance and finding in the novel ‘a way in to the impossibility of painting New York’.  Since November that year, he has been working on his ‘City of Glass’ series of paintings, based on the first story in the Trilogy. It is a powerful body of work, a series of scale, ambition, ideas and innovations.

The fifty-six paintings in the series (to date) are explorations and blurrings of fact and fiction, information and imagination, map truth and painting truth.  The novel’s central image of new Babel in New York dominates the series: sometimes inferred and hidden in the grid pattern of the streets, sometimes explicit, in the ‘architectural’, constructed, shaped-canvases and the ziggurat shaped City of Glass 41 and ablaze in City of Glass 3.

Since its inception, the series has created interest in the wider art world, starting with ‘City of Glass 1’, the joint-prizewinning painting in the Canvas & Cream Art Prize.  This has been followed by four solo exhibitions and numerous selections and shortlistings for national competitions/exhibitions including the RA Summer Exhibition, the National Open Art Competition, The Discerning Eye, and the Ludlow Open.

In 2014, Ashley contacted author Paul Auster, through his agent in New York and was thrilled to receive the following response:

"Dear Mr Hanson, Incredibly moved by your magnificent paintings. They are strong and beautiful and haunting. To think that my book could have inspired such vivid colors. I am very happy. All best thoughts to you." - Paul Auster