Ryan Lee is pleased to announce Long, Long, to Everywhere, an exhibition of new paintings by British artist Tim Braden. In these latest works, Braden brings new perspective to familiar subjects, revisiting themes of wanderlust, exploration and adventure. Dreamy scenes of sailboat races, southern French beaches, Brazilian explorers and Spanish gardens evoke memories of travel rather than depicting specific locations. These fragmented landscapes are meditations on the act of looking as much as they are visualizations of their content.
Drawing on his own travels, his collection of vintage travelogues and snapshots from his friends’ vacations for his subject matter, Braden’s paintings combine patches of color and light to produce scenes that recall both the specificity of personal experience and nostalgia for a time and place. They are exercises in the fictionalization of memory, images that point to how the surrounding visual culture shapes personal histories and futures. He explains, “for me, that is an opportunity both to inhabit any country in the world and also to take liberties with dates. Anachronistic paintings. I like the idea that these paintings will become confusing objects, they might look like paintings of the 1950s, but they couldn’t possibly be confused with the kind of painting made in the 1950s.” For Braden, nostalgia for something one has never seen is an act of invention.
This cultivation of nostalgia is also the result of Braden’s interest in the association and atmosphere of particular forms of reproduction—Pathé films, early Technicolor and color separation in printing. These modes of looking and seeing also inform his conception of abstraction and representation. Rather than relegating abstraction and representation to opposite ends of a spectrum, he views abstraction as a means of zooming in, functioning as a close-up shot might in film. This dialogue between the specific and the abstract is furthered by Braden’s technique of interrogating vignettes from his own earlier work with such intensity that they become abstractions.
In large canvases such as Regatta and Monte Carlo (both 2018), close cropping of each scene suggests a particularly focused viewpoint, one that implies an activity or location without revealing a narrative. While Regatta presents sailboats gathered for a race, it is unclear at which point the viewer is given access to the event as it unfolds or whether they are on land or at sea. Monte Carlo is a lively abstraction centering on a blue and green palm tree-like form. Colorful brushstrokes hint at streets and structures, while the specific site and subject remain ambiguous. Braden’s vibrant palette and frequent use of negative space imbues his canvases with striking luminosity. They conjure a longing for luxuriating in summer sun and sand as well as an escapist desire to disappear and leave it all behind.
Tim Braden (b. 1975, Perth, UK) received his MA from Ruskin School of Fine Art at Oxford University and attended Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam. Braden has exhibited at Baibakov Art Projects, Moscow; Gemeente Museum, The Hague; Hamburger Bahnhof, Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin; Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo; Museum Van Loon, Amsterdam; and Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam. His work is held in the collections of Ashmolean Museum, UK; Nederlandse Bank, Amsterdam; Pembroke College, UK; Walsall Museum and Art Gallery, UK; and Zabludowicz Collection, UK.