Tim McFarlane

Tim McFarlane is a visual artist based in Philadelphia, PA, whose works examine the fluid and contradictory nature of memory and place, with an emphasis on color, multi-layered systems and process. Much of his work is informed by everyday observations of the visual impact of human activity on the built environments of his native Philadelphia and elsewhere. While most of his output focuses on painting, McFarlane’s practice also includes printmaking, photography, digital art and site-specific installations.

Tim is a 1994 Temple University/Tyler School of Art graduate who has exhibited his work extensively in the U.S. and has been featured in major art fairs in New York, Miami, Dallas and San Francisco. His academic life has included being a visiting artist/lecturer and artist in residence at the elementary school through college levels, as well as teaching briefly at the Tyler School of Art & Architecture. Tim McFarlane’s paintings and works on paper reside in numerous private and public collections such as Bucknell University, Fox School of Business (Temple University) and West Virginia University. His work is represented by the Bridgette Mayer Gallery in Philadelphia, PA and ParisTexas LA in Los Angeles, CA.

Artist Statement:
The fluid, inconsistent space of memory influenced by time, ongoing changes to man-­‐made environments and human communication forms the foundation of content for my paintings and works on paper. My work is most informed by personal observations of human-­‐driven changes like the ongoing remaking of public and personal spaces. The subject of my curiosity is the residual by-­‐products of human activity seen in the remnants of old buildings at construction sites, random once-­‐cherished belongings found on the street entangled with other detritus, public spaces changed through continual use and anonymous but public mark-­‐making, like graffiti (and the resulting patterns left by the erasure (buffing) of graffiti). There is always evidence of a story of some kind to be found in these dislocated fragments of human life. By merging aspects of my lived experience, observations of changes occurring around me and imagined scenarios, I make non-­‐objective work that reflects broad experiences of life and memory.

My works emphasize multi-­‐layered systems, color (chromatic and gray scale) and process. In my paintings, overlapping forms and fractured spaces alternately support, negate and influence each other, mirroring events in everyday life. Shifts in formal relationships between layers, marks, color, and space, subtle and overt, contribute to the overall visual narrative in my work. My paintings and works on paper feature open and opaque layers that incorporate various modes of mark making including: direct painting, drawing, image transfers, stenciling and collage. My process relies on a sense of interdependence and chance happenings, which allows for multiple meanings in my work that can be explored by the viewer.

Walk Sign is On Artist Statement

Walk Sign Is On

The work presented in Walk Sign Is On is part of an on evolving body of paintings and works on paper consisting of pieces made between 2020 and 2021. The foundation of my work lies in the observed world and the residue of humans’ existence on their surroundings, most notably the urban environment. I’m interested in how the hidden or overlooked corners of our public spaces affect our psyche and perceptions of our everyday experiences as we move through those spaces. Memory, the perception of time and how our movement through, or placement in, space affects our experiences of the world are major threads that connect my paintings and works on paper.

This work was made during the ongoing turbulence of the Covid-19 pandemic, but it is not strictly about the pandemic. Much of it is the result of my various responses to and observations of the direct threat of the virus, the concurrent political and social crises we’re facing and how much life has changed for most of us in large and small ways. I have spent a lot of time reexamining what it means to be a human being and artist in these times, and in particular, being a Black man making non-objective work today. The beginning of the lockdowns gave me ample time to work, but for a short time, I also questioned my creative choices considering the socio-political upheaval that erupted. In the end, what mattered most was continuing the conversation as best I could and that meant using the language that I felt most connected to and means the most to me, regardless for whatever else was going on. What mattered most was showing up and doing what I felt needed to be done. Much of this new work centers simultaneously on compact, agitated, but also, and interestingly, expansive compositions that reflect my internal struggles with depths of uncertainty that I’ve never known, as well as the promises of hope and renewal that this time of plague has brought us.

Futures: unknown, uncertain but formable, are where the title of this exhibition comes in. Walk Sign Is On was etched in my mind this summer as I worked on a mural on the northern edge of Philadelphia’s Chinatown neighborhood at the intersection of 10th and Callowhill Streets. The phrase was repeated every few seconds as the robotic voice of the traffic signal urged pedestrians to cross the street. At first, I did my most to pay it no mind, but was ever present, stubbornly insistent on barging in. However, in working on the mural, preparing for this show and making my way through the vagaries of the new “normal”, the phrase took on more complex meanings. While the future is unknown, we always have the choice to affect what that future can look like. The walk sign is on, there is permission to move forward. How we choose to do so is what we must reckon with.

Tim McFarlane August 2021

Click on the link below to download Tim's CV.

Bridgette Mayer Gallery   709 Walnut Street Philadelphia, PA 19106   tel 215 413 8893   fax 215 413 2283   bmayer@bmayerart.com   Site by exhibit-E™