John Riddy: Low Relief - Photographs of London
Low Relief is John Riddy’s fourth solo exhibition at Frith Street Gallery and his first to focus on London.
The title Low Relief refers to the artist’s preoccupation with texture and surface, as well as those elements of the urban landscape that somehow provide a measure of relief or reassurance. In particular; natural forms, architecture, paintings and statuary, and the changing nature of both natural and artificial light.
Most of the pictures are taken in Autumn and Winter when the city is stripped of leaves and it’s structures and forms are most apparent. Surfaces are often described in a half-light that mixes the natural and artificial so that the passage of time appears to be both halted and expanded within the image.
As ever with Riddy’s work, the photographs are intentionally descriptive. However, their deliberate and formal construction presents a world that transcends the space and time in which they were made. The vista might have been dreamt, half remembered, or assembled for the purpose of making the photograph, and although people are rarely to be seen, the evidence of their actions both past and present is clear.
A classical structure of fore, middle and background positions the viewer as in a theatre before a stage, and allows buildings as varied as the Bank of England, The Garrick Club and a South London Housing Estate to be presented equally. This frontal view connects the pictures, and as a group they form a kind of aide-memoire to a journey taken.