Brian Rideout Makes Art For Design Lovers

The first thing we noticed when we fell in love with Brian Rideout’s paintings last month at the Spring/Break Art Show was their temporal ambiguity. We guessed, correctly, that they were based on photographs from decorating books and magazines, but whether vintage or contemporary, we couldn’t immediately tell. It turns out that thanks to how immersed we are in the current vogue for eclectic interiors — as documented on our most popular Pinterest board — we almost missed the point of Rideout’s work entirely. His American Collection Paintings are meant precisely to transform the images he finds in those publications into archival records of time and place: “A contemporary reference to the Flemish collection paintings of the early 17th century, American Collection Paintings … aims to reorient these glossy commercial examples into historical documents,” he says.

The lone image we instantly recognized from Rideout’s oeuvre was one we’d stumbled upon not too long ago on the Instagram of Wary Meyers, depicting the 1970s living room of collectors Bill and Ellen Ehrlich. The room is remarkable less for its furniture than for the striking way it spotlights the former couple’s Judds and Stellas, which is what gave Rideout the idea for the series in the first place. “When I first started noticing these images it was for the amazing modern art collections hidden on their walls,” he says. “The images of these beautiful homes and artworks would be in the back of a do-it-yourself home-improvement book on how to build your own couch or countertop, or in an interior design textbook, and I thought it was so great that this was a place that someone who might not have any interest in art could be exposed to these great works. That led to a bigger idea that within these DIY books and textbooks was a whole history of time and place that hadn’t really been dealt with in contemporary painting.” Check out the full series below.

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