Tim Garwood: Interview

Conducted for his exhibition Bad Grammar at Galería Combustión Espontánea, Madrid, ES. This interview was published on Plataforma de Arte Contemporáneo

Tim Garwood,  Tussle , 2017, oil, gloss, spray paint, cut canvas and wood stain on cotton over canvas in artist made frame, 96.5 × 66.5 cm

Tim Garwood, Tussle, 2017, oil, gloss, spray paint, cut canvas and wood stain on cotton over canvas in artist made frame, 96.5 × 66.5 cm

Tim Garwood (1984) lives and works in London. I was drawn to the energy of Tim’s work; his vibrant colors, bold marks and layered surfaces make for paintings that vibrate with dynamic motion. I asked Tim to talk more about his sources and process as he prepares for his upcoming exhibition Bad Grammar at Combustión Espontánea Gallery in Madrid.

Lauren Moya Ford: What are your influences? Do they remain steady or do they change according to the project you are working on?

Tim Garwood: I’m impulsive and impatient when it comes to painting. I'm always finding new items that I can use to make work, either by physically including them or using them as a tool to paint with. This could be anything from scraps of wood or metal dumped on the streets around my studio to a disposable BBQ tray that I bought in the pound shop. They can be like poking the embers of a fire to get things going again.

LMF: Do you conceive of your works as suites? That is, do the works you're making for this show function together?

TG: I don’t really like to plan too much in advance: for me painting is a case of blundering through. Things crop up as a constant surprise and that’s what I find stimulating. Many of the paintings are made simultaneously. As a result, the pieces speak to each other. A specific painting may start to get ahead of the pack and this then becomes the leader that the others need to catch up with. The edges of paintings are always interesting to me. I’ve been trying to mess with the edges of my work to increase the feeling of the paintings as objects rather than pictures of something by using shaped structures, uneven edges and making frames myself.

All the time, I’m hunting for a painting, looking for a harmony that is not preconceived and hard to describe. I am sifting through the materials - scraping back, layering canvas over areas that have become overworked.

LMF: Can you tell me more about the titles of your works? They remind me of song titles for some reason!

TG: In a similar way to the way I construct paintings, the titles are scraps, snippets and odds and ends that are pushed together somehow. They’re often things I read or hear on the radio.

LMF: In an earlier conversation, you told me that you manually insert brass pieces into canvas, and that you use IKEA tablecloths and other found materials. What is behind your impulse towards mass-produced objects?

TG: There’s something of the industrial in the brass pieces and the grid lines that play against the way that I apply paint which I like. The cloth allows me to quickly establish a ground to respond to rather than facing an empty space to work on. Applying paint roughly to the tablecloths on the floor and fixing the brass eyelets before stretching them allows elements of chance to creep into the works. The grid also allows me to activate large areas of a picture without doing much else to it: there is already enough going on in the space without me needing to add further paint.

LMF: Finally, how do you know when a painting is finished?

TG: Frequently I don’t. I often hold paintings back for quite some time and I have even reworked a painting that had been included in an exhibition already. Mostly paintings get better the more worked up they get. However, there is a tipping point when they can’t be saved. At this stage I will usually cut them up and incorporate them into a new piece where they bring something of the destroyed work for me to respond to.

January 2018

Versión en español aquí