Andréhn-Schiptjenko is pleased to present Shorelines, Ridley Howard's first solo-exhibition in France.
Ridley Howard experiments with how the elemental forces of painting, colour, shape and design coalesce into something with emotional resonance. His paintings display a cool yet personal relationship to both subject matter and image where simple depictions of people, architectural spaces and landscapes are infused with a specific painterly sensibility. The works incorporate the vernacular of vastly different genres of painting, among them high renaissance, pop art and abstraction. Subtle and deceptively straightforward, the paintings invoke a sense of monumentality while retaining a lingering intimacy and stillness.
The title of the exhibition, Shorelines, emphasises the formal aspects of painting and the geometry of compositions, referring to the idea of the line as a paring down of sorts. However, the title is also poetic, reflecting a series of works that are exclusively coastal. The coast or beach is in many ways a neutral space, potentially dreamlike and universally experienced as a place outside of normal life. One may imagine encounters, experiences and feelings of alienation being heightened there. The landscape is somewhat abstract—a horizon line and mere hints of land. Similar to the ambience of the films of Eric Rohmer, an inspiration to the artist, the sea is a site where sensuality, levity, and existential gravity co-exist.
Often depicting cropped figures against backdrops of geometric abstraction, the protagonists as well the places depicted feel fictional yet familiar, as if there is a process of distillation taking place, turning reality into something dreamlike, offering an introspective intimacy with something that we do not fully comprehend. Much like film stills they evoke a larger narrative that we are not privy to.
With links to American figurative painting as well as to geometric abstraction Howard paints with exquisite care, imbuing his works with a lingering sense of time, of moments that are captured but not frozen. Windows, abstract shapes, sunglasses, and screens open to other realities, where flatness and vastness are entangled. His playful and minimal compositions pay homage to rudimentary collage, while his accomplished sense of colour and light embrace the possibilities of painting. There is also a play with scale in his work, where canvases range from monumental to miniature in size, further complicating the artist's depiction of intimacy, where tightly cropped compositions often leave out details that would direct the viewer's sense of narrative.
Ridley Howard (1973, USA) earned his MFA at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston in 1999 and his BFA from the University of Georgia in 1996. He attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 2000. His work has been exhibited at numerous institutions including the Museum of Fine Arts Boston; The Atlanta Contemporary, Atlanta, GA; the National Academy Museum, New York; the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA; and the Knoxville Museum of Art, Knoxville, TN. Howard has been the recipient of the Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant, and the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant and he received the Rosenthal Family Foundation Award for Painting at the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2020. He currently lives and works in Athens, Georgia USA.
Press release courtesy Andréhn-Schiptjenko.