Timothy Harding at Brimstone Studios
There’s a painting in the window of Art Southeast’s On::View Residency space at Sulfur Studios, but it’s not a painting at all.
“I drove up from Texas and brought…nine 36” x 30” stretcher bars that you usually paint on,” Timothy Harding, the current artist-in-residence, explained of his project. currently untitled. “So I brought them here and assembled them into a sculptural form that works within the parameters and dimensions of the studio space here.”
From there, he populated the open spaces of the grid-like trellis with acrylic paints, but, he said, “it works much more like a sculptural object than a traditional painting.”
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“If, I say, I take said grid, which is a rigid geometric shape, and then I take this canvas and I fold it over and loop it, and force it to hold onto this frame which is too small, the recognizable grid becomes very good this irregular thing,” he noted. “And I like the idea of the works having this ‘something went wrong, something’s wrong here’.”
“I’ve always said that I had a kind of strange relationship with painting and I try to maintain it to this day.”
His path from a traditional painter trained in Abstract Expressionism to what the artist now creates began during his undergraduate studies, where he began to experiment by bringing certain elements out of the canvas and into the realm. of 3D. By the time he finished graduate school, he had all but given up painting, working instead with paper to create wall sculptures. These sculptures would ultimately serve as precursors to what visitors to his residence space would see today, though this particular piece goes beyond even the limits of what Harding has ever attempted.
“This project, and what makes it I think unique and important to me, is that it’s the first time I would say that I’ve been fully committed to doing a sculptural thing to be kind of fully navigated in the circle,” he said. . “My work usually always sits on the wall to some extent, even though it has dimensionality.”
By reading his artist statement or the synopsis of the project, you will learn that his work questions the very nature of painting itself and the relationship that the work he creates has with space itself. While these are philosophically important concerns, more viscerally, it’s just beautiful to watch, whether or not you know why it does its job.
“I hope that [the piece] is situated in a way that regardless of your level of knowledge of the art or who you are or whatever it is, there is something that draws you in to engage with it and experience it,” said Harding said. “That’s what I always try to do as an artist.”
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As mentioned, the piece he created for the residency remains untitled, a common theme for the artist, an “effort to allow the work not to be too specific,” he said. Typically, his works are named simply by their dimensions and perhaps a color or pattern they contain. In this case, however, he admitted that he had often considered the term “extrovert” when creating the work, and that this word might ultimately play a part in the final presentation of the sculpture. It’s an unsurprising inspiration given the voyeuristic nature of the On::View Residency space.
“I like the idea of people passing by, whether it’s by chance, whether they’re aware of it or not, but seeing this thing slowly evolve over time,” he said.
The final work, titled or not, will be revealed as part of First Friday in Starland. For Harding, this will be the highlight of his time in Savannah, which he says was both personally enjoyable and artistically inspiring.
“I wouldn’t have done this kind of project if I was in my studio in Fort Worth or whatever,” he admitted. “And so that gave me the opportunity to do this kind of thing.”
Sulfur Studios and their On::View Residency space are located at 2301 Bull St. Friday’s opening reception will be held in conjunction with the ARTS Southeast street fair from 5-9 p.m.
See the progress of Harding’s project via Instagram’s On :: View Residency page @onviewresidency. And you can find more of his work via his website at htimothyevanharding.com or his own Instagram account @timothy.harding.
Art off the Air is a complement to the radio show “Art on the Air” hosted by Rob Hessler and Gretchen Hilmers. The column can also be found at savannahnow.com/entertainment.
The show airs Wednesdays from 3-4 p.m. on WRUU 107.5 FM Savannah and on WRUU.org.