Never a Joiner
Andrew Cranston is a painter-storyteller, a way of working that is enhanced by his often painting on the linen-bound covers of old books. His stories coalesce in the process of making – the paintings emerging gradually through the manipulation of his materials: layering, lacquering, bleaching, collaging and constantly re-working his way into images that seem to shift backwards and forwards in time. They are resolutely contemporary in spirit and yet connected by a strong thread to painters of the past, especially perhaps to the intimism of Vuillard and Bonnard, or to Matisse or Munch. These are narrative paintings, drawn from the artist’s memory and observations of life and liberally sprinkled with references to cinema, literature and art history.
This publication presents a selection of the book cover paintings for which Cranston has become well known in recent years. The cover image is a detail of Cat and cheeseboard (2018) in which a cat sits on the upholstered arm of a sofa surveying what the artist describes as ‘a selection of bries and camemberts, as mousetraps’. Other animals pop up from time to time – a horse, some fish, a leopard; the skeleton of an elk. There are still lifes with fruit, flowers and/or pottery, and lots of landscapes, from the bleak to the fantastical. There are peopled and unpeopled interiors, portraits of family members and celebrities (occasionally curious hybrids thereof), and childhood memories from school classrooms and classical music-filled assemblies to holidays in Switzerland and visits to granny’s flat. And there are quite a few watering cans too.
Each featured painting is accompanied by a text based on notes made by the artist before, during or after making a work. Mostly private thoughts, memories and anecdotes, these fragments jotted down on scraps of paper or tapped into his mobile phone were never intended to be published, but the resulting texts offer personal observations and reflections that Cranston considers ‘something like album sleeve notes where a musical artist might give some background to each song’. The texts are at times amusing, at others melancholic and moving, offering illuminating insights into the mind and life of the artist and the subjects, references and influences that feed into his painting practice.
Andrew Cranston – Never a Joiner has been published to coincide with an exhibition of the same name at Ingleby, Edinburgh, and launched as part of the Edinburgh Art Festival 2023. Andrew Cranston was born in Hawick in the Scottish Borders in 1969 and currently lives and works in Glasgow. He studied at Gray’s School of Art in Aberdeen and at the Royal College of Art in London. Cranston has exhibited widely in the UK and USA and his work is housed in many museums and institutions across the world.
240 x 190 mm
c. 87 images
RRP: £35 / €41 / $45
UK Release: 6 October 2023
US Release: 17 November 2023
Edited by Richard and Florence Ingleby
Designed by Jo Deans, Identity
Printed by Albe De Coker, Antwerp
Co-published by Ingleby, Edinburgh, and
Anomie Publishing, London
All images © Andrew Cranston. Courtesy of the artist and Ingleby, Edinburgh. Photography: John McKenzie