Tim Forbes


PRESS RELEASE: Tim Forbes, Sep  1 - Oct  7, 2023

Tim Forbes
Sep 1 – Oct 7, 2023

Tim Forbes bases his international art studios on the south shore of Nova Scotia, on the ancestral territory of the Mi'kmag near historic Lunenburg. His prolific practice involves demonstrative large-scale works on canvas, abstract sculpture that transcend organic line and form, and curated photography editions illustrating the power of nature, architectural endeavor and cultural memory.

A Canadian multidisciplinary artist born in Halifax, Forbes' career path led him to Toronto where he was an acclaimed graphic designer and art director of cross-platform communication design for the performing arts, music, film & television industries. After decades of success working with the nation's leading global corporations, Forbes felt pulled to reach beyond the confines of a design practice to the dimensionality of fine art.

At a summer studio solace in Nova Scotia, Forbes began a series of gestural works he calls Carbon 14. This series predicated the 2018 opening of a dedicated painting studio in Toronto where Forbes began exploring a monochromatic vocabulary of pattern recognition and repetition on large-scale canvases. Working exclusively in carbon black acrylic, the inaugural paintings were formally released in 2019 at the Toronto International Art Fair and later had a US premiere in 2021 at Lanoue Gallery in Boston.

Excerpt from Minimalism Redefined 2021

Forbes' paintings are classically minimalist in many respects - the muted black and white palette, the smooth, enlarged formal masses that hold space with effortless tension, but they are also 'chatty' performative and deliberately un-finite in the adoption of accentuated singular color.

Arranging mass, volume, shape, and colour to novel realization, Forbes demonstrates just how adept the formal vocabulary is within a conceptual framework.

In the black and white camp, Forbes shares company with a great number of artists including Guido Molinari, and Paul-Emile Borduas. Both artists for different reasons worked in black and white to solve certain formal problems. Molinari to achieve spatial equivalence and background/ foreground reversibility and Borduas to banish figure/ground relationships and achieve pure automatic expression. Braque, Kandinsky, Mondrian and Molinari deployed a paired down palette to create a new world or talk about spiritual and universal ideals.

However, for Forbes there is irony behind the choice in palette shy of pastiche. Indeed, his paintings are solving complex formal and spatial problems, they are also talking about the world we live in right now, which is a complicated space with nuance, inequality, racism, passion - a place with issues that are decidedly not black and white. It is the pared-down quality of the black and white framework that pulls the viewer inside the complexity of the issues with greater facility and allows one to understand ideas anew from different perspectives.

Forbes is not abstracting for an idealized or transcendental figuration of the future like the modernists, he is abstracting the now as a method of analysis and aesthetic compassion, but using a modernist toolkit.

Jessica Veevers, PHD, MAC