Within the seemingly purely descriptive title (the words comprising it are simply the proper names of commonly available oil paints) of Tim Braden’s latest exhibition is contained both the problem and the solution that Braden has respectively identified and tackled as an artist, and more specifically as a painter. The problem is, as Henri Matisse was quoted as saying just under a century ago: “There is nothing more difficult for a truly creative painter than to paint a rose, because before he can do so he has first to forget all the roses that were ever painted”.
It is this precise issue with the representational that Braden overcomes with this new body of work. In these exuberant, joyful canvases the associative dissolves, the subject recedes into nothingness. Flooded with his distinctive light and sense of colour, his paintings emerge as fully formed abstract works that hum with what he calls “the thrill of elsewhere”.
Within the exhibition there are one or two works that do sit halfway toward the representational. Here or there one might identify the sweeping lines of a curtain, the wavering edge of a stack of books, perhaps even an entire hazily half-described interior... Even these ‘keys’ though are imbued with the same sense of the primacy of colour and form over representation. Braden is clearly inspired by but never a hostage to his source material. Several works are also re-iterations / different variations on the same compositional theme – but as with the best of any kind of artistic variation each has its own completely distinct character and ‘voice’.
The intuitive freeing of the act of painting and the learned mastery of colour and composition are here harmoniously combined. These are paintings that are unhesitatingly executed yet deeply nuanced, and which mark Braden out as an artist truly achieving new heights within his practice.
Tim Braden was born in 1975 in Perth, Scotland. He received his MA from Ruskin School of Fine Art at Oxford University and attended Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam. He has exhibited widely, including at Baibakov Art Projects, Moscow; Gemeente Museum, The Hague; Hamburger Bahnhof at Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin; Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo; Museum Van Loon, Amsterdam; and Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam.
He completed site-specific projects in Iceland in 2006 and for the Goethe Institute in New York in 2009. His work is included in many public collections, including the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford; Nederlandse Bank, Amsterdam; Pembroke College, Oxford; Walsall Museum and Art Gallery, UK; and the Zabludowicz Collection, London. A major exhibition of Braden's work will be presented at the Baltimore Museum of Art alongside BMoA's unparalleled Matisse collection in 2020/21