John Myers’ remarkable and little-known landscape and portrait photography from the 1970s has recently started to attract critical and international attention after a sparse exhibition and publishing history between 1972 and 2011.
Myers’ black and white photographs record the trappings of life in the suburban West Midlands housing developments of the 1970s. Landscape in its broadest term describes his documentation of this environment - blocks of flats, cul-de-sacs, garages, electricity substations. The interiors, fashions and sculptural qualities of the period are recorded in his series on television sets, furniture and in portraits of everyday people in their domestic setting, sitting on their sofas or standing in backyards, staring unsmiling at the camera.
Although his work is thoroughly English in feel, Myers was a contemporary of, and can be favourably compared to, American Landscape photographers including Stephen Shore, Lewis Baltz & Robert Adam. Closely echoing minimalist sculpture, Myers’ imagery pares landscape back to its most minimal, presenting environments, objects and buildings, which marginalise or exclude human presence and offer clear stylistic affinities with the work of Carl Andre, Dan Flavin, Donald Judd and Sol Le Witt. In addition to the photographs’ conceptual purity, they also represent a remarkable and nostalgic panorama of Britain in the early 1970s.
Please note the Art & Design Gallery will be closed 23 December 2016 – 2 January 2017.