acrylic on canvas
166.5 x 166 cm
The tedious old adage about art, about painting, being the marriage of form and content is just that old adage because it’s true. What is Tim’s content? All art, and painting too, is essentially autobiographical if it is to have any value, any meaning, any credibility, any authenticity. Art is the exploration and manipulation of accumulated and distilled experience. Art is neither easy nor accidental.
Art is the consequence of self and self-revelation and in Tim’s work there is an absolute sole and total reliance on his self – there is no appropriated journey here – this is his and his alone… that is its great authenticity. These images are as drawn out, stretched taut, tense and obsessively driven as the tortured figures of Giacometti. Tim’s sensibilities and imagination, fuelled by his own unique complex of experience, curiosity and deep attachments are a resource of surprising strength and profundity… and his intellectual and emotive loyalty to his own experience is that guarantee of the genuine, the authentic in his work.
Can you, for example, imagine, three more improbable, difficult and challenging topics to paint as fire, water and the night sky? He didn’t choose those just because they were difficult and tasteful things for him to demonstrate a bit of technical dexterity – they are vital parts of his essential biography… a life in which such visions are indelibly etched.
We cannot always make specific sense or assign specific value to such images as floating fragments of scorched paper, scattered like shredded bits of an often scarred memory, but it is extraordinary credibility and purpose they nonetheless divulge – none of his subjects are mere incidentals. They are echoes of unforgettable and indelible fact – however mysterious they may be and however perfectly sanctioned they may appear in the sheer quality of his art.
What are those special and identifying characteristics of Tim’s work? They evoke a unique and absolute sense of place. They could have come from no other country, no other landscape, no other sensibility, no other single imagination. They are composed with an intense consideration and surety that leaves nothing to chance. They are executed with a peerless touch and a meticulous detail. The ruthless ferocity and searing beauty of fire, the relentless power of water and the disturbing depths of oceans, that beguiling infinity between earth and sky, the night sky, the inevitable decay of even once grand material culture – all are things in which the seeds of rebirth are secreted.
Tim tackles amazing subjects – not that he really has any choice about that. They are his own personal library and therein lies the rich authenticity and value of his work.
Extract from a speech by Edmund Capon. AM, OBE.
Director of the Art Gallery of New South Wales