A Series of Intersecting Lines

It hasn’t taken long for Tim Strouss to arrange a solo show, but Tim Strouss has not had your typical artists development. Since he began painting a year ago, he has taken a disciplined approach to painting, art education, and technique. He’s painted nearly every day for the past year, and it shows. (read our interview here)

Tim’s first show, at The Abbey Coffee Shop as a First Friday event, does not disappoint. As a bit of an insider, allow me to offer some context and perspective into his work and encourage you to take a look for yourself.

dsc_0031 The centerpiece of the show, the piece created especially for this event, is a 48″ x 48″ painting incorporating collaged elements. It is fitting that he incorporates torn paper with ball-point pen scribbles into this piece, as it was this practice that got him started on his artistic path. What the viewer needs to consider is the fact that Strouss only has use of his right arm, yet constructs his paintings entirely on his own. The masked lines, layers of scribbled paper, and expressionist brush-strokes all combine to show us where Strouss is, and where he has come from. To my knowledge, it is also a new benchmark for Strouss in terms of scale. In short, it is an abstract self-portrait.

What I am continuously reminded of in Strouss’ work is his lack of color bias. What I mean is, we all have certain color palettes we have gravitated toward over time. In some cases it is influenced by the color of clothing we prefer, and for others it is as simple as developing an emotional connection to certain favorite colors. I don’t see any of that in this work though; only experimentation.

dsc_0015 Case in point are a pair of paintings that stand out stylistically as well. These two paintings, resembling a rough screen-print, are surprisingly commercial with their almost Cyan/Magenta complimentary color palette. But the presence of that butterscotch yellow is what really turns my head. I love the style, but that butterscotch or burnt umber comes from so far out of left field for me and my expectations that it has me wondering what posessed him to even try it.

But it’s exactly that spirit of exploration that unites this body of work that is so varied and bold and dark and colorful and desolate. If you don’t see something you like, or something of yourself in these paintings, I have to wonder about you.

dsc_0022 One other hi-light was hidden in a dark corridor. This is another area that I’ve seen Strouss take greater control over his painting; the frame. Strouss’ paintings on paper are so abusive to the paper, it’s impossible to see the paper as anything but a part of the work. For this reason, those torn, water-curled edges need to be seen to fully appreciate the piece. His choice to frame these paper pieces in a floating frame was a good one I think, and this one, sporting wood used as cement molds, is a huge success.

I was pleased to see a couple of sales opening night, and I hope that more people will snatch up his art while they can. He’s pricing to sell, from $30 to $600, and I’m excited to see what he does with each new twist he takes in his journey.

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