T!M_Andrew_invite Friends

Australia Day 2011 was huge.

Not in the flag wearing, cooking snags on the barbeque, sun-kissed skin, sandy feet and cold beer sense. While my phone buzzed with messages from friends and colleagues encouraging me to pop by their Oz Day celebrations for a quick hello and some lawn chair conversation, I was up a ladder with a staple gun, pair of pliers and a metal rule helping prepare for an exhibition that opens tonight at Gaffa gallery in Sydney. The show is by my best mate Tim Andrew and his show is a Big Deal – in name and scale.

It’s a brilliant collection of work (and I say this not just because Tim is my friend – it just so happens all my friends make brilliant work – it’s not why we are friends – but it certainly seems the case that I have remarkably talented friends). Sculptures, paintings, film, prints and giant wall-paper murals cover the walls. Though one can see his love of colour and him commentary on the idea of fakeness – what I love about Tim’s work is that he strives to be as authentic as possible. He’s not shallow, or trying to present anything other than who he is. He’s a white, male artist in his early thirties – and his work speaks of his interests and anxieties: there’s mild horror themes and deeply personal confessions and opinions.

Perhaps my favourite of his works is his wall of painting titles without paintings attached… numbered and scattered in random sequences – this mural is like a huge advent calender of ideas, confessions, pieces of advice, quirky sentences and self-referential jokes. Some of my favourites include:
33. I like being alone in my studio, I have a lot of time to think, which is great except I have a lot of time to think.
163. Camping is an a front to progress and civilization.
9. It brings me no consolation to know that as a pessimist I’m more likely to be correct.
42. Sometimes when I’m at the gym, I see trailing across my chest, the outline of the cord from my earphones that i pass under my T-shirt to prevent from catching on things. I pretend its a vein in my muscle and for that moment, I feel quite impressive.
136. You’d love me to succeed, just so I’d be wrong.
69. This’ll be misquoted.
5. Having no values hurts.
162. When I was younger I had much higher self esteem and I felt I would get done everything I wanted done.
62. We are the successful product of aeons of breeding. We bear the inherited legacy of many generations. So, not screwing up is kind of a big deal.
149. I just can’t trust someone who doesn’t like mango.

I am very new to the visual art world – and I’m catching up quickly as I can… it does help inform my thinking about theatre, about set design and audience… I find it refreshing to be in the company of visual artists – they are a very interesting bunch. Often they are in the pursuit of communicating to an audience and sometimes they are in the pursuit of making something beautiful or unique or fascinating. What I like about Tim’s work is that it is utterly epic and utterly brave… and sometimes I think of it in terms of Epic theatre especially the idea “the epic approach to play production utilizes a montage technique of fragmentation, contrast and contradiction, and interruptions.” And I think that is true of Tim’s work – there is a flow, and a narrative which is undermined or when you think a little deeper, look a little closer – you find something more.

Tonight is the opening night of Tim’s show… and I wonder what everyone will think. He’s a nice guy. He’s an interesting thinker. And yes – that is a photo of him with a box on his head. Because despite his fierce intellectual intensity – he is very funny, sometimes silly, supremely confident, utterly self-aware and he has no shame in revealing his ugly/weird/awkward/goofiness whilst remaining mild mannered and very polite.

If you are free tonight, come check it out… you can come tell me which painting title you like best, there are about 190 to choose from.

A teeming school of severed limbs offering help or forgiveness? A painting of pineapples interrupted by vicious dogs? A room full of painting titles without paintings that are both confessional and funny? Technicolour fountain sculptures bubble simulated blood from plastic severed limbs.

Tim Andrew’s work is provocative, gruesome, funny and utterly awkward. Shifting from serious to the banal, from sincere to nonsense, his work is bold, bright and demands attention, but is by no means easy. It occupies an ambivalent position between abject horror and comic absurdity. For Tim, art making is about presenting something to the world that expresses itself and its maker honestly and boldly. Tim says, “I’m using a kind of visual logic that I suppose one wouldn’t typically expect. I think it’s paramount to make bold statements, but it isn’t really important that they’re clear. In fact it’s mostly better if they’re not.”

Tim Andrew is a Sydney based artist who grew up in the Blue Mountains. Tim was a finalist in the Brett Whiteley Traveling Art Scholarship and was a recent finalist in the Mosman Art Prize and The Marrickville Art Prize. His work has been published in Australian and international art and design periodicals. He has recently exhibited work in Melbourne, Sydney and Tokyo and is currently completing his Masters in Fine Art at Sydney College of the Arts.

“Tim Andrew wants to be your friend. He finds you interesting and you, no doubt will find him interesting.” – Ace Wagstaff, Deadhareartreview.blogspot.com, 2009

What: Big Deal, Solo Exhibition of new paintings and sculptures
When: Exhibition: 27th January 2011 – 7th February 2011, Mon-Fri:10am-6pm,Sat: 11am-5pm
Opening Night: Thursday 27th January 2011 6pm-8pm
Location: Gallery One, Gaffa, 281 Clarence Street, Sydney