In paintings ranging from jewel-like to large-scale, abstract to figurative, Ridley Howard explores the nuances of color, shape, and composition with exquisite sensitivity. All of his works—whether precisely composed geometric abstractions, land- and cityscapes, portraits of individuals, or scenes of couples making love—are, at their core, color studies. Howard strips his subjects down, forgoing narrative and visual details, transforming them into pristine, velvety planes of pigment and collections of shapes. In Man with Sweater (2011), for example, a smooth-faced man wearing a patterned sweater faces the viewer; set against a nude background topped with a strip of gray, pink, and off-white. These colors compliment his brown hair, the blush of his lips, and the play of brown, white, and glowing orange in his sweater—a portrait of color as much as that of a man.