Loud It Up: Tim Garwood

16 May - 15 June 2024

Sim Smith is pleased to present Loud It Up, Tim Garwood's third solo exhibition with the gallery. All welcome for the opening on Thursday May 16th from 6:30 - 8:30pm.


The exhibition continues Garwood’s exploration of the rich possibilities of painting through diverse aesthetic strategies and materials that have become synonymous with his practice including glass, glitter, jute and lace. The paintings in this exhibition mark a moving on, or rather a moving through, his painterly language with the inclusion of further materials; dried flowers, splintered wood and plant fronds, denoting a body of work that is unconsciously but undeniably, deeply rooted in the new surroundings of his Somerset studio in rural England, with connotations of the landscape seeping into and pouring over, each abundant and encrusted surface.


A painter of intuition and spontaneity, Garwood has always gathered materials from the area in and around his studio to construct paintings. Originally based in London, the materials available consisted of scraps from local fabric shops, found metal objects, shoelaces, burger boxes and articles collected from the street, dipped, sprayed and slathered with paint. Painterly invention has always been fundamental to Garwood’s practice and has developed into a new, unsuspected pictural narrative for this exhibition.


“When I’m making work, I’m not thinking about re-creating something I’ve seen or felt, I’m more interested in balancing colour or material but actually, these works feel like landscapes, or the feeling of a landscape at least. After I made the painting Sky Through Naked Trees, I was lying in bed looking out of the window and I saw my painting in the landscape, I had made when I was then seeing.”

– Garwood, May 2024


The paintings are constructed though unbeknownst observations and memories of discoveries in the landscape, through mists, downpours and blazing suns. Structures of raindrops on a windscreen may lead to splatters of glitter across heavily painted works, fronds of fabric seem to embody burly hillsides, and gusts of wind take on forms of flurries of splintered wood seemingly soaring across the canvas. Marks that look like possible animal tracks are scratched into abundant daubes of paint and north stars appear as collaged gemstones. And yet, these wildly abstract paintings refuse to settle into a form of representational landscape and instead continue Garwood’s expansive painterly practice, constantly investigating the ways that colours exist in relation to each other, the weight and capability of his materials and the transformative capabilities of painting “…. heightening the stakes of the dramas and tensions of painting - between physicality and levity, transparency and colour, control and surrender.

– Tomas Weber, 2022


The outcome is something ethereal, a capturing of an energy that is hard to explain but seemingly familiar. They feel like they have always been in existence, familiar like the seasons. Garwood speaks about the cyclical nature of the countryside, the flailing of hedges for example only happening at certain times of year, leaving roads and paths scattered with shredded tree and hedge fragments. In these works, we see leaves, plant fronds, and splintered wood embedded, suggesting feelings of seasonality and perhaps temporality, which may be enhanced by the inclusion of old watch faces collaged into the works. They emerge somewhere between the foreground and background, sometimes identifiable and sometimes obliterated by heavy layers of paint, glitter and collage. Antique keys also appear, only to disappear again, dissolving into the canvas perhaps implying the repetition and history of a life and sense of home and belonging. Many of the materials are limited - either impossible to locate at certain times or in the case of the long grass fronds, simply not alive to harvest, making the paintings part of the landscape and seasons in the most fundamental way.


“The materials are not available to me at any time of the year, I wouldn’t be able to even buy them at certain times which is quite amazing today. Whether it’s a plant or an antique object, I can’t always find it, this almost always gets me hunting for something new. In one painting I have used a beaded flower my daughter made and that’s a one-off too.”

– Garwood, May 2024


These are not paintings that can be resolved quickly, they brew and steep, submerge and are saturated. They weather and withstand, succumb and stick out. There is a vitality in the work that speaks to a very visceral part of our being. In the absence of literal depictions, Garwood takes us to a place of memory through association, by magic almost, only a sense of a place, a feeling remembered - we can feel the wind and the water and can smell the grass, the damp and the heady perfume of fresh pollen. Elemental in their nature, they highlight moments suspended in time, in a striking portrayal of what it means to be present in a landscape that deeply imprints itself into the body.


The materials in the works are numerous; poppy seed heads, gemstones, glitter, net curtain, plastic toys to name a few. They appear across works on canvas, jute and glass (a back to front technique which has been a mainstay of Garwood’s practice for some time). As many associations and connotations the new collaged materials may have, Garwood is largely unencumbered by their references, deciding on their application and positioning simply based on how they develop the construction of a painting.


Whether one chooses to seek meaning in the works or whether the paintings are viewed as pure abstraction, there has been a shift in ways of looking for Garwood and ways of absorbing his surroundings that are evident. The composting of materials and layers in the paintings continue to evidence his truthful vocabulary, oscillating freely between suggestions of place, collective experience, and association. The paintings are open enough to exist in other terms, although as Garwood says, “The grass does glitter with dew, and the wind does wrap you in leaves and sticks, it’s all around you”. In this exhibition, there are no obstacles between abstraction and association, improvisation, and control, only the endless exploration, transformative capabilities and potential possibilities of painting itself.