Timothy Cummings Exhibition at Nancy Hoffman Gallery
“The Great Escape”
October 21-November 28, 2006

The next exhibition at Nancy Hoffman Gallery will be new paintings by Timothy Cummings, opening on October 21st and continuing through November 28th.  “The Great Escape” is the artist’s first major solo exhibition in the gallery, following his
Project Space show of 2004. 

October is the artist’s favorite time of year, capped with Halloween when people festoon themselves in costumes, dress up in out-of-character guises, and transform themselves from their everyday personae into something new, exotic, unexpected.  “The Great Escape” title takes this concept as its springboard and invites the viewer on a journey of escape into an exotic world where people in Cummings’s drama change from humans to part animal or plant.  Infused with the “stuff” of fairy tales, vampires and voodoo, danger and adventure become characters in the artist’s scenarios.  For Cummings, escape also signifies escape from the real world into the world of dreams, into the subconscious, into the mind and imagination.

Some of the paintings have dark backgrounds from which figures emerge as one adjusts one’s eyes to night light: shadowy rooms, nighttime landscapes, theatrical stage sets without lights.  In “A Night Mystery,” two young lads bedecked in checkered shorts, striped shirts, and argyle sweaters cast a flashlight beam on an autumnal tree in which is nestled an owl, as the full moon kindles the painting with light in the midnight blue sky.  Other paintings have brilliant blue skies, hinting at lands far away and exotic isles.  In “Seaside Adventurer,” a jaunty sailor in his whites with blue trim holds a wooden toy boat.  Dressed for a tour at sea, the sailor holds his toy sailing vessel and reveals his dreams as he stands beside a coconut palm tree and a wooden fence leading to the azure water.

While most of Cummings’s paintings are dream-like fantasies filled with myriad detail and discovery, each has a figure, and some are straight portraiture, as “Matt,” a close-in view of a friend’s face from forehead to chin, encompassing the entire perimeter of the 10x8 inch panel in which Matt stares at the viewer with widespread eyes, ruddy cheeks, and a newly-grown beard.  Sprouts of hair on the forehead and cheeks grow out onto the edges of the painting—Cummings’s touch of fantasy.

Mostly intimate in scale on small wooden panels (from 8x10 inches to 38x48 inches) Cummings’s acrylic paintings, carefully and meticulously created, suggest a master’s technique with imagery that could only be contemporary.  Inspired by Renaissance paintings as well as by primitive art, Cummings’s new works transport the viewer from this world into a world of transformation where anything is possible.

Included in the exhibition is the artist’s first video showing in New York, a collaborative effort with Aaron Plant and Shane Francis, entitled “Iodine,” about a young girl who lives in a fantasy world, her private sanctum.  She performs a make-believe facelift on her younger brother, she makes herself into an animal by attaching hair to her face, and she shaves the family dog and ultimately is sucked under the bed—a common fear of all children.

Timothy Cummings was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1968.  His work has been shown at Florida International University, Miami; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, California; San Francisco State University, California; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco and is included in the collection of the Weatherspoon Art Gallery, University of North Carolina, Greensboro as well as private collections.

For further information and/or photographs please call 212-966-6676 or e-mail Nancy Hoffman Gallery at info@nancyhoffmangallery.com.