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Tim Harding

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The Artist/design team of Tim and Kathleen Harding are represented in the several museum and celebrity collections including the Smithsonian Institution’s Design Collection at the Cooper -Hewitt Museum in New York. They are featured in the definitive book Art to Wear by Julie Schafler Dale, are winners of the 1994 Igedo Color Award from the Fashion Foundation of Japan, and have been the subject of special showings at Bergdorf Goodman and Nieman Marcus. Tim Harding Creates one of a kind, wearable art, one of the world’s best hand cut, hand dyed silk, decorative stripes, in extraordinary color palettes. The Tim Harding Studio is one of the oldest wearable art creators in America.

Artist’s Statement

After working in painting and photography in college, I became intrigued with the intimacy of fiber/textiles; their textural, tactile richness, the pliable plane, the inherent grid of the weave, as well as the complex roles of this medium.

There is a culturally ingrained preciousness to fabric. We must not tear, scorch or soil our ‘good’ clothes. And yet these textiles have tempting vulnerability. My work is based on the act of violating this taboo.

I use a unique, self-developed physical technique (a complex, free-reverse applique) which makes use of the intrinsic properties of my material while creating an interesting interplay of surface and structure.

In the pursuit of creating the illusion of three-dimensional space on the picture plane, I employ painterly techniques such as light/shadow, figure/ground, and perspective. The pixel-like quality in my work, a result of the physical manipulation, is very conducive to the coloration technique of simultaneous contrast, the use of multiple solid colors in tight proximity to create a vibrant richness, most often associate with Impressionists and especially the Pointillists.

There is an important layering aspect in my work which I use to obscure and reveal images beneath the surface. In repeating linear grids and wave patterns I’m exploring the relationship of texture to graphics.

The historical references and cultural influences for my work are many and widespread, including: traditional oriental kimono forms, Monet’s impressions of light on water, Rauschenberg’s Jammers and Hoarfrost series, Pattern Painting, the water imagery of Hockney, Fischl and Bartlett, the color portraits of Chuck Close, and the Color Field painting of Rothko and Olitsky. A key influence comes from the profound connection between modern painting and primitive ethnographic artifacts.

The lack of barriers between art and life in primitive and other non- Western cultures inspires in my own work the commitment to pursue aesthetic investigation in a medium (fiber) traditionally outside of our own culture’s fine art hierarchy. A key example of this influence is the Japanese view of the kimono as both a functional and an aesthetic object. In this approach the distinctions between fine art, decorative art and applied art become less important that the fundamental visual and conceptual beauty of the piece itself.