Fifteen years ago, when Tim Bavington started exhibiting his blurry stripe paintings, he packed loads of visual dissonance — and jolts of emotional turbulence — into their fuzzy bands of synthetic color by using an airbrush to make hard-edged compositions.
His choice of tools was akin to a carpenter using a wrench to do a hammer’s job. The main difference was that Bavington’s hazy stripe paintings, all based on rock songs, did not make a mess of the job. They looked better and sexier and more attuned to the times than anything else out there.
At Mark Moore Gallery, the England-born, Las Vegas-based artist has again shuffled the deck of our expectations by taking a power-sander to the beautifully atmospheric surfaces of his canvases. This roughs up the supple surfaces of his works. But rather than eliminating subtlety — and the sophistication that goes with it — the sander allows Bavington to create another kind of delicacy: a nuanced softness that is as surprising today as his airbrushed stripe paintings were 15 years ago.
It’s as if Bavington’s rock ’n’ roll paintings have gone acoustic. Their electrifying energy and eye-popping, hip-shaking, mind-blowing color-combinations have given way to a gentler — but no less resonant — approach. The colors are softer, less sizzling, more tactile in their sensuality. The weave of the canvases, more visible than ever, fractures each band into innumerable flecks. Their appearance comes across as the visual version of static.
The two square paintings, based on album covers from the 1980s, include those ghostly circles that eventually form on well-used LPs. In Bavington’s hands, this wear-and-tear raises questions about painting’s relationship to time, particularly art’s power to defy history. Put simply, you can buy a used album. But we do not talk about used music. We may get tired of a song. It may be boring, stale and clichéd. But even bad ones live only in the moment they are played. Bavington’s power-sanded canvases make the same claim, and more, for painting. We do not talk about used paintings. Drive a new car off the lot and you know what happens to its value. But great paintings do the opposite. The more they get used, the more vital they become.
That time-defying, Dorian Gray newness belongs to the art, not to viewers. Like Oscar Wilde, Bavington turns the tables to make us see what that means.
This exhibition remains on view through 6pm on Saturday, August 29, 2015. To watch a recent video interview with the artist, click here.
Tim Bavington (b. 1966, England) received his BFA from the Art Center (CA) before making the permanent move to Las Vegas, where he completed his MFA at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (NV). His work is included in the public collections of Fredrick R. Weisman Collection (CA),Honolulu Art Museum (HI), Albright-Knox Art Gallery (NY), Creative Artists Agency (CA), Joslyn Art Museum (NE), Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego (CA), Portland Art Museum (OR), United Talent Agency (CA), Vivendi Universal (CA), Palm Springs Art Museum (CA), Denver Art Museum (CO), The Museum of Modern Art (NY), Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art, Utah State University (UT) and the McNay Art Museum (TX). He has exhibited at LeeAhn Gallery (Daegu), Jack Shainman Gallery (NY), Galerie Jean-Luc & Takako Richard (Paris), Space Gallery (London), Museum of Fine Arts (MA), Laguna Art Museum (CA), Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Buenos Aires, and the Texas Fine Arts Center (TX) among others.
For more information about the exhibition artist, or available work, please feel free to contact the gallery, and we will accommodate your needs.