Tim Stoner
Brockley (2015), by artist Tim Stoner

Tim Stoner is a painter’s painter, and his new series, currently showing at Modern Art gallery, is a feast of painting languages and histories.
Determinedly straightforward and reflexive in impulse and expression, Stoner’s paintings can be described as happenings.

It is the collision of different elements from different angles that makes them happen. Here is an artist most interested in those elements that are in tension, where there is a fight, a battle or an antagonistic problem in the painting that has to be worked against.

In Brockley (2015), the interior of a café pictorially echoes Stoner’s first studio at Norwich School of Art (the detail of the table on the left). Different layers and ‘absences’ play off against each other. The outline of distant houses and the interior of the room seem ‘real’, or at least hold more naturalistic information than the floating circular table.

The other tables are more ‘empty’ and play with the perspectival opening up of the space. Colour takes on an individual and autonomous character. The figure on the left brims with a radiant red, while parcelled or sectioned spaces of the painting tell their own stories.

Memory is a material of these paintings, part of a drive toward essentialism and sensory attentiveness. It is reflected in the clarity of the drawing and confidence in the selection of essential details included or taken out.

Brockley recalls the reflective interior light of Rembrandt’s Philosopher in Meditation (1632) while in conscious dialogue with the ‘caveman’.

In common with many of Stoner’s paintings, it flips between intertwining, figurative compositional meaning and the abstract, sensorial meaning of the effect of colour or shape.

Tim Stoner: Wisdom of the Crowd is at Modern Art, 4-8 Helmet Row, EC1V 3QJ until 20 February

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