Research: Dan Hays – Colorado Series

by Beauchamp Art

Colorado Impression 10b (after Dan Hays, Colorado), 2002, oil on canvas, 152 x 203cm

Hays participated in the Dialogues talks earlier in the year, and upon re-examination, his work provides an exquisite example of the acknowledge of mediation through remediation; representing and image in pectoral form; from digital photos and video stills taken from online sources (in the Colorado series, this was his online double; another man called Dan Hays from the US)to methodically painted remediations of the scenes.

Dan Hays, 2005, oil on canvas, 76 x 101cm


The Dan Hays portrait (and its mirrored double, Self-Portrait) is an even more vivid example of remediated imagery; that is, representations that have passed though numerous mediums, as the picture depicts the doppelgänger photographing himself in a mirror, with the camera at the centre of the frame, which has then been uploaded and painted by Hays (it could be argued that the figure’s glasses also function as a media as the do impose a means of altered perception onto the figure. Furthermore, in this, and his other paintings, he not only adopts the imagery, but directly replicates the structure of the image, using a system of grids and a pointillist-like painting technique of applying each colour pixel by pixel. They function as a pivotal example of literal photorealism; directly imitating the imperfections of the digitally rendered image, rather than removing all traces of mediation; such as “Camera artefacts, such as depth of field, film grain, and limited tonal range”, [Manovich, 2001: 193] along with, detail artefacts including pixilation, glitching, and impossibly; hallucinatory distortions of colour; and there by drawing attention to the function of the media.

Colorado Impression 11b (after Dan Hays, Colorado), 2002, oil on canvas, 152 x 203cm

Dan Hays – Colorado Series – Oil on Canvas

These paintings do not fake reality, but rather adopt the aesthetic of “photographic reality, reality as seen by the [digital] camera lens.” [ibid: 202] The image not only functions as a means of representation; depicting the figure, but also reflects each of the window the subject has been mediated through. This could be seen to typify the mass remediation of images in the “an era of screen based image overabundance and ephemerality” [Ritchin, 2013: 49] as “on the computer screens, […] the windows have returned,” [Bolter, 2000: 180] much as with the historical examples of mediation, such as in Exposition au Salon du Louvre en 1787 [Martini, 1787] where, the paintings of salon hung paintings are re-drawn by the artist; and much like these historical acts of representation within a fixed from “everything in this world […] is made visible to use through windows.” But rather falling through the transparency of the media, Hays taps on Alberti’s window, acknowledging its presence, materiality, and meditative effects; then, significantly, he critically response to the presence of the media, rather than dismissing it as a passing curiosity. Such unconsidered examples may be found in projects such as the Glitch Safari group, an online initiative to collectively archive found glitches in digital media, like (as the name implies) spotting wild electronic happenings.

Colorado Impression 9b (Ockham Common) 2002, oil on canvas, 45 x 60cm



  • Bolter, Jay David and Grusin, Richard. (2000) Remediation: Understanding New Media. MIT Press. Paperback edition. London, England.
  • Dijk, Jan A G M Van (1991). Network Society, Social Aspects of the New Media. 1999 Edition. SAGE Publications Ltd.
  • Manovich, Lev (2001) The Language of the New Media. USA. MIT Press.
  • Martini, Pietro Antonio. Exposition au Salon du Louvre en 1787