A celebration in paintings of the John Ross Macdonald crime novels by Mike Harford-Cross.
LUMIARTS , 7 DENBIGH ST, PIMLICO, LONDON, SW1V 2HF
The paintings take a scene from each of Macdonald’s twenty six novels and his short stories. They are not intended to be illustrations but paintings in their own right and to have the dreamlike quality that a written scene has on the imagination of the reader.
John Ross Macdonald aka Kenneth Millar was considered to be the natural successor to Dashiel Hammett and Raymond Chandler in the hard boiled detective genre. Two of his novels were made into films starring Paul Newman as Archer, the private detective hero and at that time Macdonald was considered to be better than Hammett and Chandler by the New York and London Times critics.
Macdonald was born in California but brought up in Canada. Moving forty times by the age of sixteen and neglected by his poet/seaman father and invalid mother he went off the rails for a time and encountered the seamier aspects of city life.
However love of literature brought him back to education and he graduated from the University of Ontario and followed on with a doctorate in English.
After time as an officer on an aircraft carrier in the Pacific during the war he settled with his wife in Santa Barbara where they continued their literary careers. Macdonald died in 1983 after the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
Mike Harford-Cross graduated from the London Art Academy in 2012 and has an established reputation as a portrait painter working in London and Yorkshire. A career in medicine gave him a unique experience of the darker side of life but highlighted the similarity between the sympathetic detective and the old family doctor.
Despite being a prolific reader there are only two novelists he revisits, Dickens and Macdonald. This exhibition is a tribute to an author who has brought him pleasure and solace.
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