There’s a beautiful show of paintings on at Leo Koeng Inc in New York at the moment. The 20 works by Ridley Howard depict landscapes, portraits and abstractions but all subject matter is chosen for its sense of the banal. Colour and geometry are key to the paintings and the subtlety of brushwork gives a softness to the work.
When reading about this exhibition entitled ‘Slows’, I was really interested in the reference to 60′s and 70′s film which employed a ‘long-take’ technique that maintained the camera on an environment long after the subject had left the frame. These paintings definitely have this quality. Absence is there, even in the images with figures as the subject. ‘Slows’ is a perfect title for this body of work.
These paintings have links to gurus such as Ruscha and Hockney, but I was really intrigued that Piero della Franscesca was another reference. Maybe it’s Howard’s play with depth that is reminiscent of Franscesca? His work also reminds me of another couple of contemporary artists. Firstly George Shaw (who was nominated for the Turner Prize) with his banal subject matter, and Saskia Leek (nominated for the Walters Prize) for her softness of palette. All good artists to become familiar with.