John Salt's exquisite and intriguing evocations of abandoned cars and dilapidated trailers, often depicted in a bucolic rural setting, expand our definition of landscape and place him among the foremost realist painters of his generation. Born In Birmingham England, Salt came to the United States in the late 1960s and was drawn to the automobile as the quintessential contemporary subject matter. He soon became associated with a group of young American painters, quickly dubbed Photorealists, who were employing photographic images and accuracy to portray commonplace, devalued aspects of American culture. But while other Photorealists relished the reflective surfaces of this gleaming, brittle commercial world, Salt looked toward its discards. With the unique perception of the outsider, he was drawn not to the glamour of the new but to its tired after-life. There is nothing didactic here, no lecture on wasteful consumerism, but rather a meticulous evocation of visual and tactile detail. We can hardly relish the sight of the melancholy discards he portrays, yet they are oddly beautiful.
Aiming for the utmost in impersonal and objective translation of the photographic information, Salt draws and cuts elaborate stencils which he then paints, layer upon layer, with an airbrush. Salt's is an art of intriguing contrasts. What results from this highly methodical and distancing approach is an uncanny verisimilitude that is at once impersonal and tender, edgy and elegiac. Based on extensive interviews with the artist, the author explores Salt's influences, inspirations and technique and places his work in the context of American Photorealism and both British and American realist traditions. This comprehensive volume contains illustrations of the complete artist's works from 1969 through 2006. The book is published in association with Plus One Galleries, the leading dealers in Photorealist art.
Linda Chase is the author of several works on contemporary realism including Hypperealism, (Rizzoli, NY 1975) and Photorealism at the Millennium (with Louis Meisel), Harry N. Abrams, NY 2000. She has been the director and curator of several national and international realist exhibitions and has written numerous museum and gallery catalogues. Her groundbreaking interviews with the Photorealists in the early 1970s helped to establish the place of this movement in contemporary art.