The painting of my well-worn copy of Ulysses is an appropriate introduction to this series of 100 small canvases. I decided upon 100 paintings because the number is large enough to allow for play and variety, but not so large as to be daunting. The intimate scale of the work, roughly book size - on average 8 x 10 inches-- encourages a variety of possible installations. The paintings proceed chronologically through the novel and, if hung in a linear fashion, suggest the experience of walking through the novel, which itself is composed of much walking through the city of Dublin.

Part of what drew me to Ulysses was Joyce’s free manipulation of style. Joyce’s shifts in style caused T.S. Eliot to say that Joyce was anti-style. But, Joyce used style as an element of composition meant to be exploited, and he exploited it thoroughly. Going counter to conventional artistic advice about the need for consistency, Joyce gave me the liberty to use a variety of media and manners of representation in the series. The paintings range from tight realism to painterly abstraction, gestural expressionism, found object assemblage and collage, and quotations from art history in this joyous response to his great novel.

Heather Ryan Kelley

September 2021