Horizon

Exhibition Horizon of John Riddy in Frith Street Gallery

Words by

Frith Street Gallery

© John Riddy | Blakeney (1), 2021

Frith Street Gallery in London present Horizon, an exhibition of new work by John Riddy. Returning time and again to specific locations, Riddy is interested in the transformation that occurs when the familiar world is described as a photograph on paper.

John Riddy shot his new series of photographs from a single viewpoint that looks toward Blakeney Point and the North Sea along the Norfolk Coast Path. Though seemingly remote, the subject of the Blakeney series is not only a place that Riddy has visited for over 30 years but a common walking path and an everyday experience for thousands of people. The horizon, which carefully bisects the composition in each picture, indicates a shingle ridge that protects the marsh from the North Sea. The ridge is disrupted by a single building known as the Watch House, originally built in the nineteenth century as a lookout for smugglers. For Riddy, this particular viewpoint, and its description in a series of photographs, is informed by an accumulation of his impressions and his deep familiarity with the setting.

While Horizon presents a new body of work and subject matter for Riddy, the Blakeney series adopts formal and thematic tropes found in earlier works. The equal division between land and sky, for example, echoes the composition of the New York (Black Star) series (2016), taken from a hotel window, looking out across Manhattan towards the Whitney Museum. Indeed, both bodies of work also capture a single viewpoint in meticulous detail as it changes over a period of time – for Black Star, a series of pictures over 24 hours; for Blakeney, the series was made over two years.

‘I am trying to make sure that the whole print is as alive without shouting as I can possibly get it. I think I've used the phrase in previous interviews ‘screaming silently’. So, trying to get a tension into the image, but without any overt drama.’ – John Riddy

Although Riddy shot the Blakeney series at a particular place, the chief impulse behind the work is formal experimentation, a goal shared by many landscape painters, from John Constable to Philips Koninck to Claude Monet. In Koninck’s A Panoramic Landscape with a Country Estate (1649) the stark divide between the roiling clouds and the golden-green foreground echoes the structure of the photographs in the Blakeney series. Koninck based his work on the direct experience of the Dutch landscape, but the paintings are composites – fictional vistas imagined anew in the studio. Likewise, for Riddy, the time spent in the studio after taking the photographs on site is of equal if not greater importance. For both Riddy and Koninck, the landscape genre offers a space for play where subtle shifts in light and atmosphere occupy their imagination.

© John Riddy | Blakeney (9), 2022

In contrast to Koninck who often conjured vast landscapes from imagination, the realism of John Constable’s paintings is rooted in a deeply personal relationship with place. Born and raised in Suffolk, the artist repeatedly returned to the same locations, making sketches on site before returning to his studio to work on the final canvas. Having trained originally as a painter, Riddy’s approach to the Blakeney series reflects a similarly devotional working method, returning to one specific point along the Norfolk Coast Path over the course of 20 visits, before fastidiously reworking the images in the studio. Unlike previous works by the artist, the Blakeney pictures are all single frames, and carefully selected from 1,500 files. The resulting works are intensely detailed while also retaining a systematic and harmonious relationship with one another, drawing the viewer into the vast, timeless horizon of the English landscape.

Blakeney (8), 2021
© John Riddy | BLAKENEY (8), 2021

One of the great landscape painters of the Western tradition, Caspar David Friedrich often depicted the everyday terrain near his home in Dresden. Yet his landscapes are suffused with an otherworldly atmosphere, evoking a sense of mystery, or the divine. The Great Enclosure (1832) depicts a section of the River Elbe, with a variegated dusk reflected in foreground pools of water. In Riddy’s Blakeney (8) 2022, the high tide has overcome the grasses, creating patches of water that reflect the cool, grey light of the sky. We see a setting familiar to the artists in both pictures, yet by emphasising the horizon and the contrasts between earth and sky, Riddy and Friedrich construct a dialogue between the particular and the infinite.

John Riddy Horizon
18 nov 2022 - 14 jan 2023
Frith Street Gallery
17–18 Golden Square
London
W1F 9JJ
website

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Horizon

Exhibition Horizon of John Riddy in Frith Street Gallery

Words by

Frith Street Gallery

© John Riddy | Blakeney (1), 2021

Frith Street Gallery in London present Horizon, an exhibition of new work by John Riddy. Returning time and again to specific locations, Riddy is interested in the transformation that occurs when the familiar world is described as a photograph on paper.

John Riddy shot his new series of photographs from a single viewpoint that looks toward Blakeney Point and the North Sea along the Norfolk Coast Path. Though seemingly remote, the subject of the Blakeney series is not only a place that Riddy has visited for over 30 years but a common walking path and an everyday experience for thousands of people. The horizon, which carefully bisects the composition in each picture, indicates a shingle ridge that protects the marsh from the North Sea. The ridge is disrupted by a single building known as the Watch House, originally built in the nineteenth century as a lookout for smugglers. For Riddy, this particular viewpoint, and its description in a series of photographs, is informed by an accumulation of his impressions and his deep familiarity with the setting.

While Horizon presents a new body of work and subject matter for Riddy, the Blakeney series adopts formal and thematic tropes found in earlier works. The equal division between land and sky, for example, echoes the composition of the New York (Black Star) series (2016), taken from a hotel window, looking out across Manhattan towards the Whitney Museum. Indeed, both bodies of work also capture a single viewpoint in meticulous detail as it changes over a period of time – for Black Star, a series of pictures over 24 hours; for Blakeney, the series was made over two years.

‘I am trying to make sure that the whole print is as alive without shouting as I can possibly get it. I think I've used the phrase in previous interviews ‘screaming silently’. So, trying to get a tension into the image, but without any overt drama.’ – John Riddy

Although Riddy shot the Blakeney series at a particular place, the chief impulse behind the work is formal experimentation, a goal shared by many landscape painters, from John Constable to Philips Koninck to Claude Monet. In Koninck’s A Panoramic Landscape with a Country Estate (1649) the stark divide between the roiling clouds and the golden-green foreground echoes the structure of the photographs in the Blakeney series. Koninck based his work on the direct experience of the Dutch landscape, but the paintings are composites – fictional vistas imagined anew in the studio. Likewise, for Riddy, the time spent in the studio after taking the photographs on site is of equal if not greater importance. For both Riddy and Koninck, the landscape genre offers a space for play where subtle shifts in light and atmosphere occupy their imagination.

© John Riddy | Blakeney (9), 2022

In contrast to Koninck who often conjured vast landscapes from imagination, the realism of John Constable’s paintings is rooted in a deeply personal relationship with place. Born and raised in Suffolk, the artist repeatedly returned to the same locations, making sketches on site before returning to his studio to work on the final canvas. Having trained originally as a painter, Riddy’s approach to the Blakeney series reflects a similarly devotional working method, returning to one specific point along the Norfolk Coast Path over the course of 20 visits, before fastidiously reworking the images in the studio. Unlike previous works by the artist, the Blakeney pictures are all single frames, and carefully selected from 1,500 files. The resulting works are intensely detailed while also retaining a systematic and harmonious relationship with one another, drawing the viewer into the vast, timeless horizon of the English landscape.

Blakeney (8), 2021
© John Riddy | BLAKENEY (8), 2021

One of the great landscape painters of the Western tradition, Caspar David Friedrich often depicted the everyday terrain near his home in Dresden. Yet his landscapes are suffused with an otherworldly atmosphere, evoking a sense of mystery, or the divine. The Great Enclosure (1832) depicts a section of the River Elbe, with a variegated dusk reflected in foreground pools of water. In Riddy’s Blakeney (8) 2022, the high tide has overcome the grasses, creating patches of water that reflect the cool, grey light of the sky. We see a setting familiar to the artists in both pictures, yet by emphasising the horizon and the contrasts between earth and sky, Riddy and Friedrich construct a dialogue between the particular and the infinite.

John Riddy Horizon
18 nov 2022 - 14 jan 2023
Frith Street Gallery
17–18 Golden Square
London
W1F 9JJ
website

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Horizon

Exhibition Horizon of John Riddy in Frith Street Gallery

Words by

Frith Street Gallery

© John Riddy | Blakeney (1), 2021

Frith Street Gallery in London present Horizon, an exhibition of new work by John Riddy. Returning time and again to specific locations, Riddy is interested in the transformation that occurs when the familiar world is described as a photograph on paper.

John Riddy shot his new series of photographs from a single viewpoint that looks toward Blakeney Point and the North Sea along the Norfolk Coast Path. Though seemingly remote, the subject of the Blakeney series is not only a place that Riddy has visited for over 30 years but a common walking path and an everyday experience for thousands of people. The horizon, which carefully bisects the composition in each picture, indicates a shingle ridge that protects the marsh from the North Sea. The ridge is disrupted by a single building known as the Watch House, originally built in the nineteenth century as a lookout for smugglers. For Riddy, this particular viewpoint, and its description in a series of photographs, is informed by an accumulation of his impressions and his deep familiarity with the setting.

While Horizon presents a new body of work and subject matter for Riddy, the Blakeney series adopts formal and thematic tropes found in earlier works. The equal division between land and sky, for example, echoes the composition of the New York (Black Star) series (2016), taken from a hotel window, looking out across Manhattan towards the Whitney Museum. Indeed, both bodies of work also capture a single viewpoint in meticulous detail as it changes over a period of time – for Black Star, a series of pictures over 24 hours; for Blakeney, the series was made over two years.

‘I am trying to make sure that the whole print is as alive without shouting as I can possibly get it. I think I've used the phrase in previous interviews ‘screaming silently’. So, trying to get a tension into the image, but without any overt drama.’ – John Riddy

Although Riddy shot the Blakeney series at a particular place, the chief impulse behind the work is formal experimentation, a goal shared by many landscape painters, from John Constable to Philips Koninck to Claude Monet. In Koninck’s A Panoramic Landscape with a Country Estate (1649) the stark divide between the roiling clouds and the golden-green foreground echoes the structure of the photographs in the Blakeney series. Koninck based his work on the direct experience of the Dutch landscape, but the paintings are composites – fictional vistas imagined anew in the studio. Likewise, for Riddy, the time spent in the studio after taking the photographs on site is of equal if not greater importance. For both Riddy and Koninck, the landscape genre offers a space for play where subtle shifts in light and atmosphere occupy their imagination.

© John Riddy | Blakeney (9), 2022

In contrast to Koninck who often conjured vast landscapes from imagination, the realism of John Constable’s paintings is rooted in a deeply personal relationship with place. Born and raised in Suffolk, the artist repeatedly returned to the same locations, making sketches on site before returning to his studio to work on the final canvas. Having trained originally as a painter, Riddy’s approach to the Blakeney series reflects a similarly devotional working method, returning to one specific point along the Norfolk Coast Path over the course of 20 visits, before fastidiously reworking the images in the studio. Unlike previous works by the artist, the Blakeney pictures are all single frames, and carefully selected from 1,500 files. The resulting works are intensely detailed while also retaining a systematic and harmonious relationship with one another, drawing the viewer into the vast, timeless horizon of the English landscape.

Blakeney (8), 2021
© John Riddy | BLAKENEY (8), 2021

One of the great landscape painters of the Western tradition, Caspar David Friedrich often depicted the everyday terrain near his home in Dresden. Yet his landscapes are suffused with an otherworldly atmosphere, evoking a sense of mystery, or the divine. The Great Enclosure (1832) depicts a section of the River Elbe, with a variegated dusk reflected in foreground pools of water. In Riddy’s Blakeney (8) 2022, the high tide has overcome the grasses, creating patches of water that reflect the cool, grey light of the sky. We see a setting familiar to the artists in both pictures, yet by emphasising the horizon and the contrasts between earth and sky, Riddy and Friedrich construct a dialogue between the particular and the infinite.

John Riddy Horizon
18 nov 2022 - 14 jan 2023
Frith Street Gallery
17–18 Golden Square
London
W1F 9JJ
website

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