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DAN HAYS | ’Colorado Impression’
October 15th 2021
A mountainous scenery, a camper’s tent or an empty hamster cage, Dan Hays creates images that display the natural world as tightly controlled, heavily mediated, and strangely seductive. Through grids of equal-size painted squares - each one in a punchy heighted colour - the artist re-presents existing images, making them appear pixelated or a pattern of geometrical shapes. In the series ‘Colorado Impression’ Hays turned to landscape images from afar. Compressed and distorted by digital algorithms via the internet, the artist translated the photographs onto canvas, reverting one work back to digital; the three-dimensional Colorado Impressions (Lenticular). A deep space landscape of the American West.
by Henrik Riis
PRINT EDITION RELEASE
Discovering an alter ego seven thousand five hundred kilometres away can be fascinating and quickly turn into a complex affair in a determination to uncover the mysterious equal. For a London-based artist browsing the internet, the revelation of a namesake emerging along the surf of the vast electronic ocean could not be coincidental. Hidden in the curvaceous hillsides of Clear Creek Canyon in the Rocky Mountains, a second Dan Hays were broadcasting images from the landscape on the doorstep of his house in Black Hawk; the least populous town in the state of Colorado and a one-hour drive from Denver. Inspired by the pixelated photos transmitted through the analogue signal of a 56k modem, the artist Dan Hays reached out to Colorado-Dan, if not only to innocently pry into the life of the person with whom he shared his name.

Ten years earlier Hays had been in the middle of the rebellious London art-scene in the late eighties. Studying Fine Art at the well-regarded Goldsmith College, the students a year above him, such as Damien Hirst, Sarah Lucas and Martin Maloney, were paving the way for a new generation of artists to be known as the ‘Young British Artists’, or ‘YBA’s. Although Hays’ work was essentially informed by the history of painting, his unconventional ideas to painting fitted well in among the new garde. In landscapes, still life, animal painting, or other genres occasionally visited by the artist, he would break down images into an intricate grid-pattern and successively transfer the colour of each square onto the grid on the canvas. As a result of working with a very small part of a larger work, one part at a time, the finished artwork would appear mediated and too perfect; a perfection that often had the effect of distancing it from the real world.

With the onset of the constant development of technology during the nineties, Hays’ working practice began to explore the encoded and instantaneous territory of digital media compared to the tactile, flawed and time-consuming medium of traditional style painting. Instead, he started to delve into the realms of low-quality digital photographs and video stills for inspiration, which opened many new avenues for the artist.
DAN HAYS
Colorado Impression (Lenticular), 2001

Edition of 50
60(w) x 45(h) cm
23.62(w) x 17.72(h) inches
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DAN HAYS
Colorado Impression (Lenticular), 2001

Edition of 50
60(w) x 45(h) cm
23.62(w) x 17.72(h) inches
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Art is about speaking to each other and by making an enquiry you can have direct conversation with us about artwork you find interesting.
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60(w) x 45(h) cm
23.62(w) x 17.72(h) inches
Digital cibachrome print, perspex lenticular.

Signed, titled and numbered on verso.
Edition of 50
PRICE (INCL. VAT)
$ 690.00 Only 3 left at this price
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One of his first projects based on these ideas was the new body of work collectively titled ‘Colorado Impressions’, which began in 1999 at the time he discovered the other person called Dan Hays during an Internet search. The numerous photos of the Rocky Mountains landscape near the home of Dan Hays in Colorado, along with a webcam that streamed live footage of the surrounding countryside, intrigued Hays as the compressed images with their square adoptions looking similar to his own translated landscape canvases.

After receiving permission from his namesake photographer to use what he wanted - as most of the photos were out of focus and bad quality - Hays proceeded to use some images as a basis for a series of large-scale oil paintings. In contrast to his previous works, which started from a high-resolution image, the source for ‘Colorado Impressions’ were on the opposite side of the scale: pixelated and distorted as compressed digital jpg-files. Using Photoshop, he manipulated the original photos by using colour separation, mathematical patterns and techniques, often purposefully accentuating digital mistakes and glitches through printouts and projections to get a desired image which he would then finely transcribe onto the canvas in his usual grid style approach.

It is an idealised representation of the Colorado landscape, suggesting the experimental techniques of the impressionists of the 19th century by reducing the amount of painted information while still revealing the essence of the scene.

The lenticular edition of ‘Colorado Impressions’ portrays a full circle - from digital photo to canvas, adapted back to digital - but also examine a landscape artist’s conundrum of working with landscapes and perspective. Colorado Impressions (Lenticular) offers the viewer to step into the scenery, as interpreted by the webcam in Black Hawk. In the foreground, telegraph wires rise above dark shadowed bushes, and just above sits a house set in deep woodland - and blue mountains form the backdrop to create a scene of beauty.

Dan Hays has exhibited in solo- and group shows both nationally and internationally since graduating from Goldsmiths College, London, with a BA Fine Art in 1990. Later he completed a PhD at Kingston University in 2012, which included the exhibition ‘Screen’ at the Stanley Picker Gallery; one of the leading university galleries in England. During forty years of practice, he has given artist talks at around thirty art colleges and written papers for symposia at a range of institutions, as well as contributed features and reviews for many publications. In 1997 he won the prestigious John Moores prize for painting. Hays lives and works in London.

Informed by the painting of the same title and part of the permanent collection at Tate in London, the edition Colorado Impressions (Lenticular) was released in an exclusive collaboration between Dan Hays and Eyestorm in 2001. Remaking the image into digital form, new layers were added for the lenticular medium giving the image movement and depth when observed from different angles. The visual effect is created by a two-dimensional printed surface overlayed by a perspex lens showing a slightly adjusted image depending on the viewer’s position. The edition of 50 is signed, titled and numbered on verso.

You can find more information about Colorado Impressions (Lenticular), and see the work in further details, on Dan Hays artist page here.
 
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