Frith Street Gallery

Golden Square

17-18 Golden Square, London W1F 9JJ
T +44 (0)20 7494 1550 ~ F +44 (0)20 7287 3733

  • Review: James Castle / John Riddy: Of Things Placed ~ Charlie Fox

    Published in Frieze Magazine, November 2015 ( Issue 175, p. 170 )

    The exhibition in fact contains images of two expanses of parched wilderness, wisely paired and thousands of miles apart: one photographed by John Riddy, the other drawn by James Castle. Their respective haunts were South Africa’s jagged Cape Peninsula, a spur of land jutting out into the Atlantic Ocean that the British-born Riddy has roamed over for decades, and Idaho, where the deaf and illiterate Castle, an artist of disarming gifts, was born in 1899 and remained until his death, 78 years later. Together, they map communities from their most desolate edges to provide documents of these places that are difficult to decipher and reverberate with mutually ghoulish history.

    Related Exhibitions: James Castle / John Riddy: Of Things Placed

  • Artforum Critics’ Pick: John Riddy and James Castle ~ Julia Langbein

    Published in Artforum, October 2015

    In the abstract, it seems merely provocative to pair John Riddy’s recent photographs of South Africa’s Cape Peninsula with drawings by the self-taught American artist James Castle. Riddy is a British photographer of exquisite technical precision, while Castle, deaf and illiterate, worked in almost complete obscurity until his death in 1977, turning found materials such as packing boxes and kitchen twine into sculpture, books, and drawings.

    These pieces share a vocabulary of barns, gables, pilons, and power lines; yet in both, banal subjects viewed dead-on can remain strangely unknowable…Of course, this pairing shatters expectations of photographic objectivity or “outsider” subjectivity, but better yet, the formal enigmas of Riddy’s floating trailers and Castle’s squiggle symbols will find their partners if one looks close enough.

    Related Exhibitions: James Castle / John Riddy: Of Things Placed

  • ‘Palermo’ features gritty views of the historic central city ~ Steve Bennett

    Published in San Antonio Express-News, November 2014

    Riddy’s photographs — cobblestone street scenes and alleys with parked compact cars, boats on the beach, a park with a gnarly 100-year-old tree near the marina — have extraordinary focus and depth of field that creates a gritty texture, a sheer density of detail, that requires prolonged study. It’s easy to fall into one of Riddy’s images.

  • John Riddy ~ Rachel Withers

    Published in ArtForum, 3 June 2013

    John Riddy’s photographs of Palermo are the outcome of repeated visits to the Italian city over several years. This series, made over a span of three years beginning in 2011, feature superb monochrome images that possess a thrilling intensity and a sense of complete resolution. Looking at them, one can imagine Riddy doggedly trudging the city streets and returning again and again to possible locations, to assess whether the light, perspective, architecture, textures, and distribution of details might generate a picture that announces itself as definitive—inevitable, even. His habit of shooting in the early morning leads to pictures that are literally depopulated, but metaphorically screeching with traces of human activity, from the setting up of shrines and monuments to the spraying of graffiti.

    Related Exhibitions: JOHN RIDDY: PALERMO

  • John Riddy: Palermo ~ Morgan Meaker

    Published in Time Out, 25 April 2013

    In John Riddy’s sombre series of cityscapes, the seasoned British photographer envisions the Sicilian capital as an empty stage, devoid of players or inhabitants. Absence and ruin linger here, hinting at our own mortality in the face of an enduring urban landscape. The debris of human existence litters each frame; an abandoned car lies drenched in shadow and empty fruit and veg boxes swim through dark, concrete streets. Riddy exploits this greyscale to its full advantage, finding moments of pure pictorial poetry against a backdrop of neglect.

    Related Exhibitions: JOHN RIDDY: PALERMO

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