Cranston is a storyteller of sorts, without a clear story to tell. His work is seductive in terms of its use of narrative and humour, but it is the humour of Samuel Beckett or Buster Keaton, always touching on the strangeness and pathos of ordinary life. He draws on a variety of sources, in particular his own personal history; questioning the veracity of memory. This autobiographical activity is combined with passages culled from literature, anecdotes and jokes, second hand accounts, images from cinema and observations of life. Often working directly onto hardback book covers his work is not pre-conceived but emerges through the manipulation of materials – paint, varnish, collage – and the suggestions that this activity provokes, layering and re-working the images until something essential coalesces. As Liza Dimbleby has written in a recent essay “the images that are encouraged to surface are sometimes taboo; sex and solitude, death, nightmares – the ultimate questions, not without a sly humour.” Cranston was born in Hawick in 1969 and currently lives and works in Glasgow.
In 2018 Ingleby gallery exhibited Andrew Cranston's largest solo show to date; But the dream had no sound. The exhibition was accompanied by a 164pp publication, featuring an interview between the artist and his friend and colleague, painter Peter Doig. The book also includes over 60 illustrations - each with notes written by the artist - revealing the thoughts and associations that emerge in the process of making a painting