Currently on view at 303 Gallery, artist Tim Gardner has brought forward an expressive body of new watercolors continuing his practice in depicting scenes that collectively form a vivid portrait of contemporary life. Drawing primarily on an extensive personal image archive, the artist’s use of photography as a point of departure elucidates the psychological realism of lived experiences.
In his latest works, Gardner continues his exploration of the inherently complex relationship between people and the environment —a dynamic that became more pronounced during the past year as our ability to travel and be outdoors became increasingly formalized, regulated and restricted. In Theater Seats, LA Landfill, Gardner captures the moment after a truck has offloaded a heap of bright red theater seats, a poetic nod to the pandemic’s impact on the performing arts community. Ferrari, Morning Light and In the Garden regard calm, familiar moments in the suburban landscape with rapt attention, ordinary scenes that, through Gardner’s careful consideration of color, light, and composition, are transformed into meditations on an everyday sublime.
Human influence over, and interference in, the natural world looms large even when figures are absent from the image, implicated instead through technological infrastructure. Skynet and Skynet Dawn observe a sky punctuated by communications satellites, visible to the eye as a uniform grid of dots. Their light seems to outshine the stars, an eerily poignant reflection on the encroachment of the digital world into the physical.
With Cali Poppy and Yellow Poppies, Gardner’s approach shifts, isolating flowers as the subject matter for portraits, articulating the minute details of each plant’s anatomy with an attentive reverence. Here Gardner most plainly evokes the irrepressibly human desire to pause and endeavor a meaningful connection with nature, in spite of all efforts to the contrary.
Showcasing work no doubt influenced by the solitude and quiet of the pandemic, Gardner’s work offers a new point of reflection, considering that time against that of the present, and just what has changed.
– C. Rhinehardt
Tim Gardner at 303 [Exhibition Site]