What is Painting? What is Sculpture? What is Installation? The artist Tim Ralston is continually experimenting with the inter-disciplinary nature of contemporary art. His ephemeral, architecturally scaled, site-responsive paintings intervene and slice through the spaces they temporarily inhabit.
Ralston’s artworks are concerned with our connection to the landscape, and the specious nature of landscape as seen throughout art history. Within the confined parameters of this genre the artist makes work that examines what landscape painting can be. The traditional understanding of landscape is turned on its head, there is no ostensible depiction of nature in the works but rather they are an abstraction of the landscape; a visual realisation of his energetic relationship and response to an environment – informed by the politics of green space within the urban environment and how nature may be reintroduced into an existing architectural framework.
Ralston’s immersive paintings deconstruct the medium to its constituent parts, focusing on the support and surface. Experienced in the construction of painting panels he lets the rules inherent in this aspect of the practice inform the aesthetics. Viewed in the round the paintings become three-dimensional objects, challenging our perception of painting and the classic landscape genre.
The context in which Ralston’s artworks are viewed is important, the viewer and the site activating them. Preferring to show in non-art spaces; abandoned multi-storey car parks and decaying buildings, what is fundamental to all of his paintings is the dialogue with the place they will inhabit. Using measurements, plans and photographs, he builds up a thorough understanding of the architectural characteristics of where the paintings will be shown. Back in the studio he draws potential structures and constructs maquettes or speculative proposals, “artists tend to be particular about how their works are exhibited, (Judd) and notoriously focused on the particularities of installation spaces.”
Feature image: Speculative Proposal, 2018