Tim Gardner, Sauble Beach, 2015, watercolour on paper
In Tim Gardner’s second solo exhibition at Monte Clark Gallery, the artist presents a selection of new watercolour paintings depicting figures engaged with the nighttime landscape and sky.
In nine new paintings, Gardner examines techniques of representing nocturnal scenes, employing blue and indigo hues that allow details of a dimly-lit tableau to be viewable while still reading as “night.” Though to the camera or to the eye these colours are not particularly accurate, Gardner plays with this language of nocturnal colour to create strikingly realistic scenes.
Gardner’s depiction of nocturnal scenes was partially influenced by 20th century Japanese artist Hiroshi Yoshida. Yoshida created woodblock prints using different sets of inks to create daytime and nighttime versions of the same image, substituting darker hues for the latter. Fittingly, Yoshida was particularly known for eschewing traditional Japanese imagery and depicting landscapes of national parks in the United States, not unlike the recreational scenes that make up much of Gardner’s imagery. Gardner’s new selection of watercolours situate his markedly contemporary figures in such landscapes, and narratives emerge as the subjects interact with their settings: they ride a motorcycle at Sauble Beach, they ski under the moon, they take a photo of the lights in Los Angeles with an iPhone.
Exhibited alongside Gardner’s watercolour paintings are three collage works, formally more abstract but still echoing Gardner’s nocturnal palette and referencing ground and sky. These works are the continuation of a project that started in 2003 where the artist began collecting the paper towels used to wipe his brushes and palette while in the process of painting. These pieces, formed by collaging the paper towel squares together, are superficially different but maintain an interesting tie to Gardner’s more traditional watercolour works; it’s something in the way they share the same pigments, or as the artist explains, the same “essence.”
Tim Gardner completed his MFA at Columbia University in 1999 and has since exhibited his work at The National Gallery (London UK), the San Francisco MoMA, Modern Art (London), the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Kunsthalle Basel, the Contemporary Art Gallery (Vancouver), 303 Gallery (New York), and at numerous other institutions. His work is held in collections worldwide including the National Gallery of Canada, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Whitney Museum, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMoMA).