DCKT Contemporary presents new paintings by TIMOTHY TOMPKINS. The exhibition includes works from his ongoing Media series and debuts paintings from his new Nebula series.
The inspirations for TOMPKINS’s paintings stem from his engagement with the tropes and language of the medium’s history. TOMPKINS begins his process of digitally altering found photographs by breaking the images down to core colors and by effect blurring the contours. He then uses high-gloss commercial enamel to execute the paintings on aluminum panels. The paintings, when viewed from a distance, reflect both physically and metaphorically a relational narrative which, upon closer inspection, dissolves into form and color. The artist communicates a sense of removal from the present and a conceptual representation of social, cultural, and personal “memory.”
10.24.07 (after Turner) utilizes as its source a news image of a helicopter preparing to drop water on a brush fire in Southern California. The classic struggle of man versus nature calls into question persistent human expansion into areas susceptible to the unpredictability of the natural environment. TOMPKINS echoes classic paintings by J.M.W Turner such as Rain, Steam, and Speed – The Great Western Railway (1838) and The Burning of the Houses of Lords and Commons (1835). Referencing painterly concepts of the sublime and picturesque, the painting denies the glorification of nature by its inherent violence. The vibrant hues of color mimic our turbulent political climate and the dire results of globalization.
Nebula v.15 contrasts the dynamic activity of a nebula with the seemingly sedentary stars that surround it. Scientists capture images of nebulae with a technique of color reproduction known as the “Hubble Palette,” a process in which the elemental properties of stellar objects are assigned specific RGB codes. The process allows a viewer to see these clouds of dust, gas, and plasma otherwise hidden from physical view. TOMPKINS’s Nebula series plays upon ideas of revealing the unseen and invokes concepts of disjunction between observation, representation, and interpretation.