Tim Garner (photography)

< back to Artists

Tim’s vision of the human landscape is often dark and brooding. Yet his work is coloured with an uplifting, almost spiritual mood.

Click to Read an In-depth Article

This beauty comes from his intense observation of the everyday. The folds of the northern hills, the ghostly impressions of buildings. Bleak, empty streets are not glamorised.  Their gritty mundanity is key to their soul.

Earlier work had already begun to show signs of this dark realism; shaped by a childhood in the North, his art training at Cardiff University and many years spent in France.  In each period he felt exposed to a sense of harsh brutality, but also to the sensuality and beauty of the physical world.

In his twenties Tim laboured on farms and in the abattoirs in Brittany. Here Catholicism seemed to fuse seamlessly with the unforgiving land.  Men worked and drank long and hard whilst the women preserved the homes and their traditions.  His work reflected the values of his environment.  Huge open barns allowed him to produce photo collage on a large scale with visions of machines merged with flesh; it was the land, the animals and money which fed the Breton soul.

His art during this time began to gain some notoriety:  he was supported by Claudie le Breton, president of the Council for Cote de Armor, who designated him a studio.  He produced a huge triptych for a church where the locals were both attracted and repelled by his images; empathising with their craftsmanship but confused by their strange intensity. 

The undercurrents of that work could well have flowed naturally into his landscapes of the present day, with their parallels to the gritty, working landscape of Northern England.  But instead Tim’s focus moved from the sensuality of the land to the sensuality of the body.  He describes these erotic pieces as ‘a vanity’ – a visualisation of desire rather than a total immersion within the experience.  Even so, these images have the same compelling authenticity as his other work.  They express themselves without apology or concession and were born from a period in Paris spent with his second wife. He spent this time either with her or working and living in squats.

Some of the most striking imagery of this time is the work produced with his favourite model.  She was a contradiction of sexual power and femininity, merged with the vulnerability of a broken past.  Born from a long line of North African shamans, she worked as a call girl for 10 years and became Tim’s obsession and his muse.  The relationship mirrored the progress of his work; spiralling from exploration into compulsion.  Desire became need which when indulged just began to feed something akin to a destructive monster.

Tim was pulled from the grip of these cravings by his own epiphany:   he opened the bible to be confronted with the charge not to follow his desires.   He continues to this day to use bibliomancy as a tool to understand his path.   His current landscapes are a sharp departure from his erotic works and they signify a conscious change directly inspired by these hidden voices.

Tim sees his present work as a way to create something positive by giving people a voice, an identity and a history. Imagery which touches on a profound level and that people can live and voyage with for a life time.