Colorado Snow Effect 5
2008, oil on canvas, 122 x 162cm

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"In Colorado Snow Effect 5 the colour system is further manipulated, as a means of introducing visual information not in the source photograph. By tweaking or replacing a few pixels here and a few pixels there, Hays suggests what appears at a distance to be a trail of footsteps preceding the lower half of a tiny figure into the pines, where it merges with the shadows of the trees. It's barely there - you think you've seen it but you're not sure. But to inspect the image more closely of course is futile: the closer you get the less discernible the 'figure' is, quickly breaking down into abstract noise - a meaningless array of coloured squares. One could say that the human eye has an appetite, a desire for an object to focus on. These paintings work with this, tease and frustrate it: we think we see something (or, more pointedly, someone), drawing us into the painting, but as we approach it evaporates, atomises. Like a confused camera on auto-focus, unable to latch onto anything in an uncertain field, the viewer is caught between two perceptions - stuck in a back / forward flicker."

Excerpt from Far Away So Close, essay in Turps Banana 5 by Marc Hulson.