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Tim Kent

Canadian-American, b. 1975
Tim Kent, Absurdist, 2021, Oil on linen, 39 x 29 inches (99.1 x 73.7 cm)
Absurdist, 2021

Tim Kent depicts psychotically charged interiors and unsettling dreamlike-vistas.

Brooklyn-based painter Tim Kent depicts psychotically charged interiors and unsettling dreamlike-vistas. In Kent’s painting, architecture and landscape are fused with gestural brush marks and elements of abstraction, but the picture plane is never flattened. Rather, the viewer is drawn into a deep space enhanced by Kent’s characteristic, symbolic perspectival grid lines. A reference to the Renaissance system used for constructing pictorial space, Kent’s perspectival lines evoke contemporary technological, mechanical and social systems such as electric grids, building elevation lines, internet networks, social networks, the flow of politics and information, and displays of power.

Brooklyn-based painter Tim Kent depicts psychotically charged interiors and unsettling dreamlike-vistas. In Kent’s painting, architecture and landscape are fused with gestural brush marks and elements of abstraction, but the picture plane is never flattened. Rather, the viewer is drawn into a deep space enhanced by Kent’s characteristic, symbolic perspectival grid lines. A reference to the Renaissance system used for constructing pictorial space, Kent’s perspectival lines evoke contemporary technological, mechanical and social systems such as electric grids, building elevation lines, internet networks, social networks, the flow of politics and information, and displays of power.

 

The artist’s imagery has evolved over the course of several bodies of work including A World After Its Own Image (2016) Dark Pools and Data Lakes (2018) and Enfilade (2020).  Kent describes his paintings as sometimes “stemming from a reaction to an event or moment from my life or the world, which I then use as the basis for my work.”  In other instances, his compositions “refer back to my own archive, whether photographs I’ve taken or found, or an image from an earlier work that continues to attract me psychologically or aesthetically. As Kent develops a painting, “the subject moves into focus, usually revealing some form of juxtaposition or conflict which serves as the basis for a larger body of work. Certain themes recur, historical narratives as cultural capital, or the interiors of stately architecture as artifact and landscapes modified by industry.”  

 

His most recent series, Enfilade, made during the first few months of the covid-19 pandemic, explores the concept of enfilade--the alignment of rooms that have a direct line of line of sight from one to another. The term also refers to an alignment of gun fire in which a round of ammunition is fired simultaneously, in a uniform spread, with the intention of hitting a target through a statistical spread. Playing with the tension between seen and unseen, Kent conjures maze-like interiors in which adjoining rooms appear to unfold endlessly in one direction, but the viewer cannot glimpse what is around the corner. Sparse but opulent, these domestic spaces are infused with a cold grey-green light that evokes an ominous sense of tension, a powerful emotive effect that Kent achieves through a restrained palette of predominantly white and grey. The rooms are inhabited by shadowy, silhouetted figures, in uniform lines, which are a direct reference to the statistical likelihood of mortality due to the pandemic. Kent’s interiors have the feeling of being haunted and tap into issues of class, access, privacy, and consumption that pervade the built environment.  

Born in 1975 in Vancouver, Canada, Kent received an MA from the University of Sussex at West Dean College, UK and a BFA from Hunter College CUNY, NY. While a student at the West Dean he was hired to create renderings of historic homes throughout England, sparking his fascination with architectural space. He has exhibited his work widely both in the U.S. and internationally. His recent and upcoming solo exhibitions include Enfilade, which opened in New York City at Slag Gallery in July 2020, and presentations at Patrick Mikhail Gallery, Montreal, Fall 2021 and Pilevneli Gallery, Istanbul in the Fall of 2022. Kent’s work has been covered in many publications including Art Critical, The Brooklyn Rail, New Criterion, Huffington Post, Hyperallergic, Fine Art Connoisseur, Lapham’s Quarterly, Le Monde diplomatique, Architectural Digest, and Elle Décor.

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