'Harmony in Green', Dan Hays, 1997

The painting depicts a cage which fills the canvas. It has a solid base and thin bars for the sides and top. The space between the bars has been coloured in.

Oil on canvas, 171 x 246cm

'Harmony in Green' won the John Moores 20 painting competition in 1997.

Of the piece, the artist has said:

"Monet chose 'Harmony in Green' as a sub-title for a water-lily painting. I was reminded of impressionism as I was filling in the spaces between the bars of the cage. Green is the colour of nature. I wanted to show the cage as a desirable place to occupy. The painted cage is confined within the rectangle of the canvas. I find the notion of harmony interesting. In a classical sense there is discord in the painting. Harmony is to be found in the play between surface and the illusion of depth. There is a feeling of hope that these opposing domains may be united. I am also reminded of harmony in a zen sense (John Cage). I wanted the cage to be human sized. The painting is exactly my height. The pictorial illusion collapses very quickly as the viewer moves from a central position. This is owing to my use of a very slight perspective. My early obsessions with Escher and Op Art re-surface.

Painting is a refuge."