Over many years, Dan Hays has explored the relationship between the intangible and instantaneous realm of the digital image, and the tactile and time-consuming medium of painting. Using a variety of painting techniques, the pixelated nature of the screen image when seen close-up has been recreated and extended through layering, and is often exaggerated to the point of recognition.
Since being invited to exhibit at the Broadway Gallery, Hays has engaged with Letchworth’s status as the first garden city, especially drawn to its founding utopian vision. In contrast to his long-standing use of images gleaned from the Internet as the basis for paintings, the artist has visited Letchworth, photographing various housing and industrial areas, using these images as his inspiration.
The idea of the garden city is paradoxical, for it is both futuristic as well as harking back to a rustic idyll. The concurrent early 20th century movements in art and thought, especially in Britain, can be seen in a similar light, where radical modernism is often tempered by nostalgic romanticism. Refracting contemporary digital imagery through the resonances of historical oil painting, Hays’ paintings aim to distil something of this spirit.
Dan Hays has exhibited nationally and internationally since graduating from Goldsmiths College in 1990. He won the John Moores Prize for painting in 1997, and his work can be found in many collections such as the Tate. He completed a PhD at Kingston University in 2012, which included the exhibition Screen as Landscape at the Stanley Picker Gallery. Recent group shows include Film in Space at Camden Arts Centre, A Machine Aesthetic at Gallery North, Newcastle, and Seeing Round Corners at Turner Contemporary, Margate. He lives and works in London.