Since producing a flawed set of watercolours of the 49 books in the Fontana Modern Masters series published in the 1970s and 1980s, contemporary painter Jamie Shovlin noticed that 17 titles went unpublished. Intrigued, the artist has since approached these lost works and imagined what they might have potentially looked like. Tom Hunt of the Haunch of Venison described Shovlin’s conceptual framework as playing with the boundaries between truth and fiction, “often replying retrospectively a logic to an era or a concept that might not have been originally thought of.”
What Shovlin has done is represent these book covers as art, that fiction Hunt spoke of with as much logical truth as possible. To do this Shovlin created a system, a codifying chart that would dictate colour and composition based on a standard palette used in old Fontanas, and the arrangement of the colours would be a corollary of their “importance” based on the relevance of the subject or author since the work was written. With these visual addendums, the artist created a method to “analysis them in a way that they never asked to be analysed.”
Jamie Shovlin’s Various Arrangements are currently on show in London’s Haunch of Venison until May 26.