Initially, Timothy Harding’s explorations with undulatingmesh forms began with graphite on paper grids,
spilling off the wall or out from a corner, sometimes even gently leaning into one another on the floor as rolled-edged polygons.
Some were lit by a scattered grouping of fluorescent tubes and bulbs on the ground below whose cords
TO WREST THE GRID and forms were then integrated into the work’s overall composition.
Eventually, these installations gave way to singular works of acrylic on canvas, at once both meticulous and curious in their precision and method.
When I first visited his studio last winter after seeing his “buckled” paintings earlier the same year,
TO WREST THE GRID he was already pushing elements of those forms back into installation again,
never quite content with the permanent state of an art object, its relationship to the architecture of display, or even the combination of components involved at any one time.
Regardless, I circled back and asked about his process regarding the “paintings,” which marries a fastidious
and punchy hard-edge abstraction with tablecloth-pulling type of visual ploy.
Harding performs this final transformation by gently flipping the fully painted canvas over and removing it from its original support stretcher, which was pulled conventionally taut during the painting process.
He then downsizes to a smaller stretcher with a similar horizontal-to-vertical ratio, and tweaks
and tugs the surface from behind, arranging the larger painted surface into a sculptural relief of sorts.
When questioning Harding about this element of his systematic process,
he admitted to enjoying the prospect of “flying blind” and “not having to make decisions.”
Instead of safety-pinning the back of a model’s outfit for a photoshoot (to appear more custom and form-fitting),
this inversion sees the artist pushing the painted canvas toward the front instead, into folds, peaks,
and valleys, eventually letting the paint cure into a yet unforeseen, invented topography.
The unprimed edges of the canvas typically stray into the frontal view of one of Harding’s works,
creating both a visual and physical tension between the smaller stretcher support
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