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Sepia profile photo of artist James Howell in white hat painting with left hand

James Howell

By (author) Alistair Rider
Foreword by Nicholas Fox Weber


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  • First monograph on a leading American Minimalist artist whose career is undergoing critical re-evaluation
Full Description

The first monograph on an American abstract artist of unparalleled subtlety.

James Howell (1935-2014) was an American abstract artist who used infinite variations of the colour grey to explore the fundamentals of light, space, time, and [kinesthetic] perception. He appreciated the colour’s mystery, softness, simplicity, and capaciousness. His precise, systematic methods, developed over many years, yielded accomplished square paintings and works on paper. Their subtle revelations — absent of illusion, narrative, and symbolic references — expand in the viewer’s consciousness. In this comprehensive first monograph, Alistair Rider traces Howell’s artistic evolution, from the beginnings of his career in the early 1970s through the artist’s greatest achievement — the group of abstractions called Series 10, which occupied the last two decades of his life. Rider’s multi-faceted essay also chronicles Howell’s biography, including his early studies and accomplishments in architecture, and offers several interpretive frameworks for Howell’s oeuvre, notably a connection to East Asian philosophies. The beautifully produced book presents dozens of full-colour plates of artworks and exhibitions, and Rider’s essay is thoroughly illustrated with archival images and documents from the James Howell Foundation. This publication makes a critical contribution to the reevaluation of an artist whose studies of light into shadow have for many years been in a dynamic conversation with recognised trends in contemporary art.

About the Author

Alistair Rider is Senior Lecturer in The School of Art History at the University of St Andrews. He writes about European and North American art from the 1950s to the present day, and has a special interest in abstraction, particularly Minimalist Art. He is the author of Carl Andre: Things in their Elements (London: Phaidon, 2011).

Circa Press
19th Nov 2021
300 mm x 260 mm
240 Pages
120 color
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