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Tim Shorten - Bailey Arts

Tim Shorten - Bailey Arts

Tim Shorten - Bailey Arts ‘I choose the word ‘representation’ with care, though even this is not really adequate. The term ‘Realism’ is bandied about carelessly – and I have taken part in shows which have included that term in their title – yet the images which I create are, ironically, more about a sort of artificiality than reality. The places depicted generally don’t exist, and the vignettes portray moments in time which exist only in my imagination and which never actually took place in the real world. What I try to do, rather like the novelist, playwright or film maker, is to present my fabrication with such conviction as to make the viewer believe in it. Northern Europe and Britain in particular, has a long tradition of narrative painting. It has never really been in fashion – and therefore never out of it either – but it is ubiquitous. From my early undergraduate days I have been fascinated by the narrative clarity of the early Flemish painters, who found it necessary to invent oil paint in order to facilitate their slow, painstaking and descriptive methods. Stanley Spencer, David Hockney, Anthony Green - and of course Edward Hopper (OK, he was American) have all left an indelible mark on the way I see the world and try to make sense of it through painting. Equally, however, I have been influenced by the haunting, atmospheric imagery of film makers such as David Lean, and by the exquisite, candid photography of Cartier-Bresson and Robert Doisneau. Why do many of my recent works – at first glance at least – seem to depict a time half a century ago? A romantic attempt at nostalgia, perhaps? Or have I just looked at Hopper for too long? Neither; I think there are really two reasons. Firstly, when we try to imagine, images associated with our childhood are often very potent. Train travel, for example, seemed very exciting and glamorous to me as a child, and the recent works based on railway stations evoke hazy recollections of those early experiences. I certainly don’t paint actual childhood memories, but I accept that I might be subconsciously recreating – or just creating – a world which I imagine existed back then. I’m in my fifties now, and the 1960s shaped who I am. Secondly, and more importantly, I actually want many of my images to be as timeless as possible, because they are usually inspired by universal themes or feelings which have been recognised by adults of all ages in all time periods.’ Tim Shorten, May 2011

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