Echo Echo: John Holcomb

1 - 29 October 2022 London
‘Like Sickert, I am also drawn to ordinary, humble people and places. This series centres on those living and working in my home state of Kansas – bronc riders, a farmer ploughing his field, Native Americans fishing, cowboys and the hard-working waitresses at the Fred Harvey houses and restaurants throughout the Midwest.’
John Holcomb’s new exhibition of paintings is inspired by the mould-breaking, proto-Pop, ‘Echoes’ series created during the 1920s by British artist Walter Sickert (1860-1942). Sickert took vintage black-and-white woodblock illustrations - and re-imagined them on a larger scale in colour and in paint. His colour choices were sometimes bold and often anti-naturalistic. These painted ‘echoes’ were - and remain - both daringly modern and subversively nostalgic.

The Kansas-based artist, John Holcomb, adopts the same strategy but transplants it to his native Midwest. His found images - of dusty cowboys, bucking broncos, and sleepy barmaids - are taken from historic periodicals and publications. Holcomb re-imagines this age-old Americana in a glorious personal technicolour. Like Sickert, he achieves an exciting tension between old and new.

Matthew Sturgis, acclaimed biographer of Walter Sickert, said: ‘Sickert has always been the most suggestive of painters. His vision, his techniques, his intense engagement with the figurative tradition, have all been hugely influential. They have touched the work of artists as diverse as Freud and Bacon, Frank Auerbach and perhaps even Tracy Emin. So it is wonderful to see his radically innovative ‘Echoes’ finding an echo of their own in the work of John Holcomb.’

John Holcomb has exhibited widely across the USA, in New York, San Francisco, Miami and Palm Springs, as well as in Singapore, Hong Kong and Paris. This is his second solo exhibition at the Rebecca Hossack Art Gallery.