Tim Braden’s third solo exhibition with Frestonian Gallery provides a fascinating insight into the many layered concerns and inspirations of his practice as a painter. The paintings take as their subject matter the abstract nature of both garden and textile design.
Braden’s works unfold as a balance between accepting and resisting the conventions and rules of these different design practices through a new medium, painting, imbuing new meanings and new forms. In this process, Braden allows the physical properties of his medium to guide and inform as to what will and will not remain of the creative decisions already made by the other makers. This process of translating and reimagining into something new necessarily brings to the fore a wealth of other considerations – namely Braden’s own artistic formation and inspirations as an artist, as well as his own unique and intuitive hand (or rather eye) in the matter of creating of his own works. Each of these endeavours is united in a desire to find harmony and balance across multiple variations of colour, composition and texture.
Paul Klee, Gabrielle Munter and others of Die Blau Reiter movement and their passion for gardens have been an enduring inspiration for Braden. His ‘textile’ paintings are informed by an appreciation of the work of early 20th Century artists like Anni Albers, and others who were so excited by the possibilities of co-opting this ancient medium in new ways. So too the works of other painters seen and loved push gently at Braden’s practice. The work, in particular, of Patrick Heron informs an approach to the adjoining or separating of planes of colour, and their power of ‘activating’ one another.
Through this merging of subject, external influence and intuitive (re)making, the two source materials in this exhibition begin to overlap significantly. The garden ‘scenes’ become deconstructed to the point of recalling fabric patterns, whilst the textile-inspired paintings expand out into ambiguous, drifting, forms and vistas that all of a sudden seem to perfectly describe a landscape. The synthesis leads here, to a converging body of work that flows together as a studied and masterful celebration of light and colour.