Magazine article Artforum International

Tim Gardner

Magazine article Artforum International

Tim Gardner

Article excerpt

303 GALLERY

Young men at leisure in one another's company has been a subject of art since the Greeks--and some constants tend to hold across divides of time, taste, and medium. The boy-men will be handsome, perhaps bare-chested, and will display an easy physical camaraderie, a homoerotic innocence. They will be shown accomplishing feats of physical prowess and enjoying the relaxation that follows. They will appear entirely at home in their world, unconscious masters of their environments pausing to taste luxurious youth before, presumably, entering serious masculine enfranchisement. There will usually be a whiff of possible destruction. Think Poussin's Arcadians, Eakins's bathers. Think Tim Gardner's suburban guys.

In his first solo exhibition in New York, Gardner showed thirty-five paintings (four oils on canvas, the rest watercolors on paper; all works 1999). All were called Untitled, with parenthetical subtitles like Bhoadie, Nick, S, Matt & Tim playing basketball, Victoria; S pissing; and Matt & S with surf boards: Malibu. Again and again, in snapshot scenes from a year abroad (Tim photographing Taj Mahal) or summers off from school (Brad in pool with pink ball), Gardner presented late-adolescent males enjoying the fruits of late-twentieth-century suburban affluence: dudes doing some radical hanging out. There were lots of swimming pools and leafy backyards attached to ranch-style houses, very few women, lots and lots of beer--all captured in exquisite detail in watercolor miniatures. Under Gardner's hand, each face becomes specific, every highlight correct. His brushwork is so assured that from across the room the photographic illusion held perfectly; son images didn't dissolve into painted gesture until the viewe r stood two feet away.

Clearly, something subversive is at work here. …

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