303 Gallery presents Tim Gardner’s second solo exhibition. Known for his watercolors of post-adolescent males reveling in juvenile behavior, we see this same cast of characters. Because it is clear that he is exploring his subjects from the outside, the viewer gets the feeling of having caught the subject in the middle of a dare such as streaking or a drinking game. There are inside jokes and secrets here that are never fully understood both by the viewer and Gardner himself. Unanswered questions keep the work and images in a state of motion, constantly evolving in their realm of possibility.
The watercolors are painted from photographs given to him by his brothers, their friends, or his parents. In this new body of work he continues to push the medium, making a more explicit reference to his watercolor’s origin as photographs in their breathtaking accuracy. Exploring the complexity of his characters is done through his technicality, as if creating a more accurate facial expression will bring him, or you, closer to what is going on inside his subject. “I like to think of the images I paint, as if the subjects are perfectly self-conscious of their own theatricality and content in their banality .”
Gardner’s place as voyeur is clear through his consistent examination of this group of young males, as well as through his images of people alone in nature. What brings together these two worlds is that his subjects are all depicted in leisure, what they are choosing to do in their “free time”. One can easily deduce that Gardner himself identifies more closely with the isolated subject in nature, his self portraits have often been depicted as such; yet, the voyeuristic nature of the other work is an equal counterpart , in that one can just as easily be defined in what they are not or in what they are fascinated by.