Label Text: "Clearheaded analysis of vision was required to construct this image. While an immediate reaction might be to marvel at the believability of the presentation, another is to wonder at the structure of the print. It can be seen as a mass of flat color forms masterfully organized to appear as a realistic object. The dissection of every component of the composition is so complete that even the shadows cast by the lettering of the theater sign are transformed into nothing but blocks of unarticulated gray and white ink.
Cottingham eschews being labelled as a photo-realist. He sees himself growing out of a tradition created by Pop Artists of the 1960s such as Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, and Robert Rauschenberg. They incorporated lettering in their art and used everyday objects or images of them to create new paintings and prints based on common urban sights. Perhaps from his background in graphic design and the advertising industry, Cottingham gravitated toward a hard-edge, precise style of representation (written by Nancy Sojka for Passion on Paper: Masterly Prints from the KIA Collection, 2018).