Katie Gingrass Gallery

Tim Harding

After working in painting and photography in college, I became intrigued with the intimacy of fiber/textiles, their textural, tactile richness, the pliable plane, the inherent grid of the weave, as well as the complex cultural roles of this medium. There is a culturally ingrained preciousness to fabric. We mustn’t tear, scorch or soil our ‘good’ clothes. And yet these textiles have a tempting vulnerability. My work is technically and conceptually based on the act of violating this taboo. I use a unique, self-developed physical technique (a complex, free-reverse applique), which makes use of the intrinsic properties of my materials while creating a compelling interplay of surface and structure. In the pursuit of creating the illusion of three dimensional space on the picture plane, I employ painterly techniques such as: light/shadow, figure/ground and perspective. The pixel-like quality in my work, a result of the physical manipulation, is very conducive to the coloration technique of simultaneous contrast, the use of multiple solid colors in tight proximity to create a vibrant richness, often associated with the Impressionists.There is an important layering aspect in my work which I use to obscure and reveal images floating beneath the surface. In repeating linear grids and wave patterns I’m exploring the relationship of texture to graphics.

The historical references and cultural influences for my work are many and widespread, including: traditional kimono forms, Monet’s impressions of light on water, Rauschenberg’s Jammers and Hoarfrost series, the water imagery of Hockney and Bartlett, the color portraits of Chuck Close, and the Color Field painting of Mark Rothko. A key influence comes from the profound connection between modern painting and primitive ethnographic artifacts. The lack of barriers between art and life in primitive and other non-Western cultures inspires in my own work the commitment to pursue aesthetic investigation in a medium (fiber), traditionally outside of our own culture's fine art hierarchy. A key example of this influence is the Japanese view of the kimono as both a functional and an aesthetic object. In this approach the distinctions between fine art, decorative art and applied art become less important than the fundamental visual and conceptual beauty of the piece itself.