Screenprint printed in colours (2009)
Signed and numbered from the edition of 100.
96.5 x 96.5 cm
Robert Cottingham was born in 1935 in Brooklyn. He was one of a group of artists including Richard Estes and Chuck Close known as the Photo-realists. This movement, which came to prominence in the late 1960’s was seen as a reaction against Abstract Expressionism. The controlled technique, and slick photographic appearance of Photo-realism was in complete stylistic opposition to the expressive paintings produced by such artists as Jackson Pollock. In this sense it was akin to Pop Art, which embraced the impersonal, mass-produced aesthetic of advertising.
Photography was used as an important tool in the process of making Photo-realist artworks; Cottingham would use the camera as a means to document urban signage, before working on his meticulous paintings and prints. His subjects are inspired by his love of the American urban landscape, particularly New York, which has an abundance of neon signage, and colourful advertising billboards. The use of signs is an important formal tool in Cottingham’s work, in many pieces the letters take on an abstract quality – removed from their context they become formal devices. The bold, graphic nature of Cottingham’s work is particularly effective in his prints, which by their nature replicate the flat surface of a photograph.
For over 35 years Cottingham has alternated between printmaking, painting and drawing, using the dialogue between the different mediums to develop his work. He has worked with many major print workshops including the Landfall Press in Chicago, Tandem Press in Madison, Wisconsin, and Harlan and Weaver in New York, producing over sixty editions over his career.
Cottingham’s works can be found in many major collections Internationally, including: The Art Institute of Chicago, The Ludwig Collection in Cologne, Germany, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum of Art and The Museum of Modern Art in New York and The Tate Gallery in London.