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'20 Books = 20 Paintings' can be seen in 'Painting the Novel', a solo-exhibition at Linden Hall Studio, Deal, 26 Jun- 17 July, 2021


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Great elation with the completion of the series, paintings spawned from the crime-fiction that I read incessantly. BOOK 7 has been re-worked several times - a beast indeed -  but now,finally, we have a strong painting. A three-year project that took me deeper into painting, with many moments of pleasure, despair and surprise. In the search for ideas for paintings, many books were read, many were rejected, many favourite authors didn't make the cut.

Working in series brings in a competitive element: the recent reworkings have brought greater clarity to several of the pieces. Now there are no more brushmarks, adjustments to make, no more scouring the pages of the novels for further possibilities. Instead we have the exciting anticipation of seeing the series together for the first time in the beautiful space at Linden Hall Studio. 

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’20 Books = 20 Paintings’ celebrates the act of reading, the twin canvas-format referencing the physicality of books, of holding, turning pages. But these are paintings, books that don’t close. 

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These interpretations of the novel continue a lifelong interest in the frisson and ambiguities between information and imagination, between image and the shape of place, between ideas and process. In contrast to the 63 paintings of the 'City of Glass' series (from Paul Auster's'The New York Trilogy), where I had the space to develop both the breadth and detail of the novel, in this series the challenge was to sum up the essence of each book in a single paintIng. Although each are different, there are common threads: a distinctive, specific palette in each, a critical image perhaps, locations, on differing scales,often wth pointers to where the bodies were found. 

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In the spirit of the genre of crime-fiction, I have deliberately withheld the source novels, leaving a space for the viewer to become a detective themselves in interpreting the clues in the imagery, palette and titles. If they wish. This elusion forced a new discipline within each painting - what not to put in.  If I felt a visual 'clue' was too obvious, a new solution had to be found. 

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The series opens-up the question of whether outside references are needed at all to enjoy/understand the work: painting is, after, all a visual medium.  This dilemma has been my challenge, the edge in the series, the juggling act between context, communication and the formalities of painting.  

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Viewer, the choice is yours: however you wish to 'read' these paintings, my hope is that they engage and intrigue you, as purely visual entities, working on the senses or as a bridge between the visual and written worlds. Or both. The pleasures of looking...