Timothy Taylor Gallery is proud to present an exhibition that brings together the work of Robert Adams, Robert Bechtle and Ewan Gibbs. All three artists create deeply personal, yet iconic images of America.
The exhibition will be Ewan Gibbs’ third at Timothy Taylor Gallery, and the first time the gallery has presented works by Robert Adams and Robert Bechtle. Gibbs will show new pencil drawings of photographs taken over several years on journeys across the USA, while Bechtle will show drawings in charcoal focused on his home city of San Francisco. The Adams works selected for the show include a series of black and white photographs from the 1970s of the ever developing urbanisation in the Denver, Colorado areas.
Photography is at the core of the exhibition. Although Adams is the only photographer, the question of how photography relates to painting is paramount to Bechtle’s practice, and Gibbs’ drawings are painstakingly constructed from his original black and white photographs. All three artists use simple snapshot compositions although this simplicity is deceptive.
Gibbs strips away the detail and clarity from his source imagery, yet in the finished drawing the depicted scene remains recognizable in the rows of delicately hand drawn marks set within the invisible grid scored on the paper. His drawings present familiar views in a stripped down minimalist form. Meanwhile, unlike the variations of focus found in a photograph, Bechtle’s drawings present everything in unnervingly sharp focus. His drawings work to produce emotional as well as visual effects with tilted, often bare foregrounds, minimized shadow and nondescript atmosphere.
As a tourist immersed in the art of Robert Bechtle, Ewan Gibbs has said of visiting San Francisco:
As I walked around … I had many ‘Bechtle moments’. I would see an intersection or a particular hill or a car with its cover on and I felt like I was inhabiting one of his images. It was like being shown around the city by an imaginary friend called ‘Bob’ who was pointing things out to me.
An appreciation of the suburban and the familiar established in the drawings of Bechtle and Gibbs is exhibited quite differently in Robert Adams’ photographs, exposing how urban sprawl has destroyed the awe-inspiring and beloved open spaces of his native Colorado. Similarly, although Bechtle’s works appear neutral – capturing often deserted streets of San Francisco – they too reflect a growing sense of alienation from contemporary US consumer culture. In Adams’ photographs the harsh, bright light of midday creates deep impenetrable shadows, suggesting all is not well in this suburban dream. Meanwhile, the lights in Gibbs’ night scenes glow gently from nothing more than the soft white paper ground of the drawing.