Timelapse 2010 – 2012
Brian Neish & Tim Free
28th June – 10th July 2013 (free admission)
Landmark Arts Centre, Teddington, http://www.landmarkartscentre.org
Timelapse is a collaboration project between two artists with a mutual interest in expressing ideas connected with snapshots of, and in, time. This show at the University of Winchester will be the inaugural exhibition for the project, bringing together text and painting based upon seemingly banal everyday observations of people, place and environment. The focus of the project is on the potential within original text to prompt imagery – especially painted imagery – in such a way as to amplify core ideas and acknowledge ways differing mediums can intersect
behind the time(line) – the guildhall, city of London
A statue of Margaret Thatcher by a timeline chart of industrial decline in the Thames Gateway. A deliberate decision by the exhibition team ? A just response to the part played by the Tory government of the day ?
I wanted to see what this composition looked like rotated 180 degrees with the panel to the right. The panel gap lines now lead the eye further across the picture plane to dwell on the panel, so this may stay this way for a while…the colour choice matches the original planned palette but I don’t particularly like the red and yellow combination for a final version, plus the red feels more like the hydrant panels in my other work and I’m not sure how I feel about this cross-over…
With Behind The Timeline I’ve re-orientated the image by 180 degrees so that the horizontal panel gaps work differently and help to lead the eyes, left to right, towards the panel now on the right. The movement across is continued by 3 short lines exiting this panel – the non-symmetry works much better now for this piece…
thrice new year chimes – imperial war museum (rear yard)
A ticking clock, a calender and a darkening sky – a trilogy of time and mortality.
How do you express or capture the sound of bells? This was a constant issue for me running alongside representing the more obvious and literal connections to vessels making the sound. In the end I persevered with the same basic composition but worked over it again and again until the colours and edges ran into each other making the shapes less discernible, less geometric and hopefully less predictable. Although the piece appears quite ‘minimal’ in its final incarnation, the resulting surface is full of interest and variation at very close inspection, and as a result seems resolved.
the submarine models – imperial war museum
Two separate female tourists draping themselves over the second world war ‘biber’ submarine for a photo opportunity. Inches from the controls where a lone German operator died. That sinking feeling…plumbing the depths ? What is the culturally accepted passage of time before respect is ceded ?
I ended up developing an image that used the cold green-black colour that could be interpreted as linking well to the sea – but not the pleasant blue of seaside association, rather the wild, deep and threatening colour one might be used to well beyond the coast in desperate conditions. The lines marked out reminded me of measures on an instrument for recording ‘depth’, as on a submarine, or down the side of a ship. The moodiness of the painting’s overall ‘look’ seemed to work better in reflecting the girls’ obvious lack of connection with what the equipment was used for, or what it stood for, as opposed to light and frivolous colours that might have been used in a more ironic way.
tripping the light – sw15
Waiting at a set of lights. The suspension of time. How other road users interact with each other in the pause before the headlong rush.
I’m very conscious of the dangers of being too literal to the original statement here, but nevertheless feel drawn into exploring a 4-colour piece like this. It is the first stage where the red/amber/green has appeared in the panels and it will be interesting to see how I modulate these with further layers as the piece develops. The background is a very deep, moody grey that I think I will leave alone for a while and see how the stronger colour modulations work with it…
scars of bremen – imperial war museum
A German couple (born in 1939) talking about their visit and the war in their city as well as their friendship with an ex-RAF crew member from Harlow. The man revealing fading scars from a bombing raid, rolling up his sleeve and (I) thinking he was going to reveal a tattoo from a camp.
Try as I might, the sharp greens contrasted with the darker, moodier versions failed to express what I needed this painting to do. I can’t say exactly why save for some obvious colour theory (and standard practice) that I hoped to subvert and make ‘work’ on a reasonably aesthetic and expressive level. Hints of this radar screen green can still be seen in the horizontal lines either side of the dark brown-black central column. Before this version the greens felt strangely detached, inert and lacked impact. The solution was to block-in the darker ‘column’ with a very warm black first and then work from this. I felt I needed to retain some idea of a pathway to a target, as provoked by the original MO, and this central shape manages to convey this. The ‘target’ is not seen as such – in my imagination it is still some way off the top edge of the screen. But the black helps to symbolise the dark bleakness of the insides of the bomber’s fuselage, or the blackness outside the windows on a night raid. Each of the two side sections still retain the idea of markers being sent out, by signal, from origin to target – but their stepped arrangement works much better now, visualy, I think, and creates a beteer sense of movement.
air Pressure – Imperial War Museum
Observing the way people move. Slowly and calmly. Engrossed and absorbed. A sense of tranquility away from the streets. A place to lose yourself in (and back) in time.
At first sight the drawn lines suggest a floor tile pattern, and therefore a surface to walk across, possibly in a calm and orderly fashion, much as one would expect in a museum space. Movement is further suggested by the marks created in the under-painting. There is a kind of evenness in the composition despite the shapes being of different sizes – this being an attempt to promote the sense of ‘tranquillity’ mentioned in the MO.
A sense of depth is encouraged in the way the pale grey lines appear to ‘hover’ over the background, as though the shapes are the interlinking panes of glass in a window shielding the viewer from a hostile environment on the other side, maybe a vacuum compared to the normal pressure on the viewer’s side.
in real time – 337 to Richmond (1330)
A young woman on her iphone. A constant stream of dialogue about facebook updates (the sagas/the melodramas etc…). Stopping the call to check a text (nothing). The frantic bid not to miss any communications on the social radar.
The idea behind this painting was always to have 3 or 4 ‘panels’ sitting one upon the other, mimicking layers compositionally as well as the numerous layers of paint used at different stages of the piece. An idea about which of these overlaid panels might be decaying the most started to get lodged in my mind for some reason – the one furthest back? The square panel on the ‘top’? One of the ones in between? The MO prompted this response, I think, in the sense that an object can deteriorate at the same rate or at different rates over the same time span. The colour choices are much more painterly, and referenced to the painting’s needs moreso than serving the MO – partly out of necessity and also partly to synchronise with the other paintings in the series. As a result, possibly the most diverse range of colour, throughout the different stages, can be seen via glimpses in the under-painting expressing aspects of slow, drawn-out decay.
nameless – Kennington Road, SE1
A shop front displaying the (no) name of ‘…&…’. ‘Anonymous & Sons’ ? A Naomi Klein ‘No Logo’ branch ? Maybe just closed down and bereft of identity.
The original conception for this painting has, in the main, been retained. The rather plain, grey and faded panel at the top could be a window or an empty space for a shop’s name. Clearly the absence of any text reinforces the theme of the MO and the rendering of this space suggests a sign has been pulled off leaving traces of ‘glue’ behind.
The ‘background’ has been worked across the picture plane and appears almost smeared. Some traces of the under-painting show through – grooves, old lines filled-in and tiny hints of bolder, stronger colour underneath.
I have attempted to make this painting about as anonymous as possible without it appearing Minimal in nature or devoid of any detail. Paradoxically, it has attained a silent power and is increasingly memorable.
white elephant – Wareham Station
A freshly painted white line on the edge of a disused line, the track long since lifted. Nature having taken over. Brambles, banana skins and the obligatory alcohol bottles and fast food wrappers.
The composition of this painting has alternated between using two ‘tracks’ measured out with different intervals (to imply a 2-speed interpretation of ‘progress’) and one track that appears isolated and not particularly joined up with anything except the top and bottom edges of the painting. The latter design prevailed although indications of the other track can be seen in the wide column to the left and the narrow column to the right.
The rendering of the paint has yielded pools of rich, dark blue that seem to bleed from the edges of the frame and the sides of the single track, perhaps expressing something similar to references in the MO to nature advancing and eventually covering all traces of what was there.