Holcomb exhibits paintings in London
Mayetta artist John Holcomb, 38, has a new series of paintings on exhibition this month at Rebecca Hossack Art Gallery in London.
Holcomb’s new series, “Echo Echo,” is inspired by the groundbreaking “Echoes” series created during the 1920s by British artist Walter Sickert. Sickert took vintage black-and-white woodblock illustrations and re-imagined them on a larger scale in bold color and in paint.
Holcomb adopts the same strategy but transplants it to his native Midwest. His found images of dusty cowboys, bucking broncos and barmaids are taken from historic periodicals and publications.
“Holcomb reimagines this age-old Americana in a glorious personal technicolor. Like Sickert, he achieves an exciting tension between old and new,” according to the gallery.
“Like Sickert, I am also drawn to ordinary, humble people and places. This series centers 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.”
Holcomb’s solo exhibition includes eight artworks, which are on display at Rebecca Hossack Art Gallery in London through Oct. 29.
“Through the artwork, I’ve been able to better connect to where I’m from,” Holcomb said.
One of the artworks, “The Land of Corn and Wheat” is the reimagining of an advertisement from an 1885 area newspaper promoting a new corn planter. The painting “Rooster’s Call” is also based on an early newspaper advertisement.
His painting “Harvey Girls” is based on a line drawing from between 1885-1895 that shows a cowboy seated at a lunch counter and two Harvey Girls serving food. The Harvey Girls were waitresses who served meals at the Fred Harvey hotels and restaurants along the Santa Fe Railroad.
Another painting, “Sundown Town,” is based on an engraving from 1874 in Harper’s Weekly and shows a group of cowboys with their horses gathered in front of a saloon and general store.
The exhibition at the gallery opened Oct. 1, and Holcomb and his wife, Ali, recently traveled London for the opening of the exhibition.
He is the son of Tamyra Holcomb and is the grandson of Donna Holcomb, both of Mayetta. He is the great-grandson of the late Creston and Elsie Kern, formerly of Mayetta.
Holcomb has worked with Rebecca Hossack Gallery since 2016 and has exhibited at art fairs widely across the United States, including New York, San Francisco, Miami and Palm Springs, as well as in Singapore, Hong Kong and Paris. This is his second solo exhibition with the gallery.