10 Masters of Photorealism
Robert Cottingham is known as a photorealist, but his meticulous paintings and drawings of pre-digital Americana border on abstraction. Cottingham depicts mid-20-century signs, typefaces, manual cameras, railroad boxcars, and mechanical components, or what he has called “tools of the Everyman,” in various dynamic compositions with intensified color and light. The artist has described his fascination with signs as originating from trips to Times Square as a child: “I think that’s when the seed was planted, when I saw the kind of activity going on above the ground level.” Obsessed with the precise geometry of his subjects, Cottingham’s process incorporates a series of steps that can include sketches, photographs, shapes mapped onto grids, and model construction. His crisp, often-monumental canvases celebrate and accentuate the forms of his subjects while remaining devoid of nostalgia. He lists Franz Kline, Edward Hopper, and the New Realists among his influences.
American, b. 1935, Brooklyn, New York, based in New York, Los Angeles and London