Painting the Novel

'Painting the Novel', a solo-exhibition at Linden Hall Studio, Deal. 26 June - 17 July 2021


Ashley Hanson’s painterly responses to the novel showcase the fluidity of ideas across genres and the frisson and ambiguities between fact and fiction, information and imagination, ideas and process, 'map-truth and painting-truth. His colour-saturated interactions between the visual and written worlds, structured on place, are packed with intrigue and subversions of scale, with an inventive interplay between narrative, incident, image and the formalities of painting.

Alongside works inspired by Paul Auster’s ‘City of Glass’, Don deLillo’s ‘Underworld’, and John Boyne’s ‘The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas’, at the core of the exhibition is his recent project, ’20 Books=20 Paintings’ series, sourced in crime-fiction from around the world. ’20 Books=20 Paintings’ celebrates the act of reading, the twin canvas-format referencing the physicality of books, of holding, of turning pages. But these are paintings, books that don’t close...

In the spirit of the crime-fiction genre, there are pointers to the identity of the source novels within each piece, in the disguised imagery, in the palette and titles. In the run up to the exhibition, more 'clues' will be released on a daily basis, allowing viewers to become a detective themselves in identifying the inspiration for each painting, with a prize of a painting from a crime-novel of their choice, to whoever makes the most correct guesses. The source novels and prizewinner will be revealed on the opening day of the exhibition.

‘Viewer, the choice is yours. However you wish to 'read' these paintings, my hope is that they engage and intrigue you, as independent purely visual entities, working on the senses or with their literary links providing additional layers of interest. Or both. The pleasures of looking...’