Tim Kent is an American-Canadian painter whose work engages with power structures in art, politics and society. Juxtaposing the illusionistic style of Johannes Vermeer with abstraction and linear perspective, Kent's interiors blend responses to current events with found and personal archival photographs. He lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.Read More
Tim Kent was born in 1975 in Vancouver, and moved to New York as a teenager. He completed his Bachelor of Arts in art history at Hunter College of City University of New York (CUNY) in 2001. Kent was a founding member of The Giraffes, a rock band with whom he played until 2002, when he returned to painting full-time. Kent also established the Brooklyn Sewing Circle, a forum for artists to share ideas and works.
Kent travelled to the U.K. in 2003, where he completed his Master of Visual Arts at the West Dean College of Arts and Conservation in 2005. During his studies, he was hired to render historical homes throughout England—a practice which he continued on return visits between 2007 and 2012. Kent's skills in architectural drawing and photography enabled him to meet owners of estates and access their art collections, an experience which would shape his mature practice.
After graduating, Kent completed a three-month residency which culminated in an exhibition with fellow alumni Pippa Blake at Moncrieff-Bray Gallery in West Sussex.
Kent's practice melds evaporating figures with precisely-rendered architectural forms to infer 'meditations and metaphors of uncertainty', manifested in large-scale canvases. In order to create his exposed vanishing points and orthogonal lines, the artist uses a system of weighted rulers inspired by Vermeer's perspectival technique.
In 2018, Kent created a series of paintings for his solo exhibition, Dark Pools and Data Lakes at Slag Gallery, New York. Examining the complexity of power systems and networks, the canvases featured multi-point vanishing lines and perspectival grids that ricocheted across the surface. At the centre of the exhibition was Order Types (2018), which showed suited male figures clutching unreadable documents, their faces marred by a network of white lines cutting through the blue-green background.
Kent's 2020 exhibition at Slag Gallery, Enfilade, meditated on the titular architectural feature that comprises a suite of rooms connected along an axis of aligned doorways. Using his usual cast of ghostly figures, Kent depicts interiors of stately homes of England and Scotland that he sketched during his master's. Appeal (2020) takes place in Wentworth Woodhouse in South Yorkshire, with the grand neoclassical architecture playing host to a line of shadowed figures holding banners that cascade from the ceiling.
In 2022, Kent created Between the Lines for Hollis Taggart, New York. This series followed on from Enfilade, focusing on the idea of the viewer as voyeur. Playing with art's history, these works position the onlooker behind a door or in the corner of the room, witnessing half-rendered ghostly figures within the same grand architecture. The Study (2022) shows a woman at a desk against the backdrop of an ornate blue bureau, her head blurred to a smudge as the perspectival lines float in the walls above.
Tim Kent has been the subject of both solo and group exhibitions.
Select solo exhibitions include Vagaries of Precision, Patrick Mikhail Gallery, Montreal (2021); Enfilade, Slag Gallery, New York (2020); Dark Pools and Data Lakes, Slag Gallery, Brooklyn (2018); Tim Kent, Kunstverein Viernheim, Viernheim (2017).
Select group exhibitions include Reunion, Hollis Taggart, Southport (2021); Abstrakshn, Patrick Mikhail Gallery, Montreal (2021); Figure as Form, Hollis Taggart, New York (2020); Structures of Power, Patrick Mikhail Gallery, Montreal (2019).
Annie Curtis | Ocula | 2022