Koenig & Clinton

Ridley Howard

19 Jan - 25 Feb 2012

© Ridley Howard
Nudes, 2011
Oil on linen
24 x 30 inches (61 x 76.2 cm)
19 January - 25 February, 2012

Leo Koenig Inc. is pleased to present the second solo exhibition of new paintings by Ridley Howard.

Entitled Slows, this new body of work is comprised of portraits, landscapes, and abstractions. Through a subtle play with geometry, space, and color Howard evinces simple observations of modern life where the real and abstract co-exist -- buildings flatten out into abstract forms; a tile façade becomes a minimalist grid; geometric shapes mirror textile patterns. Howard’s purposeful attention to scale and blending of visual language creates an elegant and deliberate syncopation; his careful consideration of the banal offers a lingering sense of time. He infuses cool detachment with hints of painterly romanticism, asking the viewer to consider subtle nuances in paint and image that do not immediately reveal themselves. Akin to the cinematic, the work is evocative of avant-garde filmmakers of the late sixties and seventies whose ‘long-take’ technique fixes a lens on an empty road, a field or a street long after its subjects completely disappear from the frame, and whose works are respected for their narrative vagueness and provocative mystique.

The paintings move from strangely detached portraits to pause on a swatch of cloth, to focus on a building’s signage, or to completely succumb to imaginary patterns, compelling a slippage into a simultaneously visual and psychological abstraction. And though they have a graphic quality, the hand is evident in soft, atmospheric edges and is crucial to the works’ ability to communicate complex and often contradictory emotions to the viewer. A multitude of elements rest beneath the surface of each painting, but are coalesced, and laid bare, singularly by artist’s hand.

Howard’s practice spans over a decade and grows out of a personal amalgamation of
experience, fiction, illustration, cinema, design, and the history of painting. His work evokes a tradition of American image painting that encompasses the Ashcan School, Edward Hopper, Ralston Crawford, as well as more recent pop figures such as Ed Ruscha, Tom Wesselmann, and David Hockney. He also takes cues from artists as stylistically divergent as Piero della Francesco, Hans Holbein, Sophie Taeuber-Arp, Francis Picabia, and Giorgio Morandi, as well as filmmakers like Michelangelo Antonioni.

Ridley Howard has exhibited extensively. His work has been included in shows at institutions such as the Knoxville Museum of Art, Knoxville TN, and The High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA. He holds an MFA from the Boston Museum School and has been the recipient of grants from the Joan Mitchell Foundation and the Pollock-Krasner Foundation. Ridley Howard lives and works in Brooklyn.

Tags: Ralston Crawford, David Hockney, Edward Hopper, Ridley Howard, Joan Mitchell, Giorgio Morandi, Francis Picabia, Ed Ruscha, Tom Wesselmann