Timothy Cummings: Drawing Down the Moon

April 14 - May 21, 2011

The next exhibition at Nancy Hoffman entitled “Drawing Down the Moon,” is new paintings by Timothy Cummings, opening on April 14 and continuing through May 21.

The artist’s poetic title is a key to his thoughts over the past few years, which have turned toward magic, mysticism and pagan ritual. Mystical symbols enter the paintings in the form of crystals and rainbows. In the proliferation of rainbows and rainbow colors in this body of work, Cummings alludes to the power and beauty of nature, a driving force behind many of the paintings in this exhibition.

Magical transformation, a theme explored by the artist in the past when figures or heads morphed into birds, is evident in many of the new pieces: a young boy has a tiger head; a fountain-like seer spews crystal dust, smoke or ectoplasm from its mouth like Neptune of ancient eras spews water. The seer’s eyes are replaced by a magical vapor, a haunting, riveting work. An invented pagan ritual in “Bring the Magic Down” seems to be unfolding as a fairy child in gossamer transparent dress floats above the heads of a gathered crowd. The moon lights the sky and reflects beams on water as a serpent joins the arms of the assembled, worshipping crowd, perhaps singing incantations to the child goddess of the night, embellished with a moonbeam crescent in her hair.

Crystals are faceted and fractured as they become faces of doll-like figures, among them “Mother and Son.” The artist’s signature faces of young boys verging on adolescence are painted with large eyes, which gaze vacantly at the viewer. Consistent with his interest in ornamenting the visage is a new approach to “face decoration.” Colorful pick-up stick like structures, or slivers of colored crystals become eye masks and veils to reveal and conceal the face beneath. Child-like, yet seemingly in possession of secrets, Cummings’s faces questing for knowledge persist as a leitmotif throughout his work. Crystal-like too is the artist’s use of glitter in some of his new paintings. A young boy in a bathing suit twirls sparklers in a deep night-blue sky. A resting child reclines in “Enchantment,” his head on a plaid sleeve. Antlers are tied to his head, perhaps as a Halloween costume, or perhaps in preparation for another pagan ritual. Above his head a fountain of glitter cascades, the glitter raindrops never touching the dreaming child’s rosy cheeks.

Portraits and self-portraits are parallel threads throughout the artist’s work. His newest self-portraits are both evocative and provocative. In one he reclines on a pillow, an image of his head at rest looking at the viewer; in another he raises his white shirt to reveal his muscled chest and he holds a flower in one hand while turning the palm of the other upwards, a gesture that is simultaneously enticing, seductive and suggestive of Eastern sculptures.

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.

Timothy Cummings was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1968. His work has been shown at Clay Center, Charleston, West Virginia; Dean Lesher Regional Center for the Arts, Walnut Creek, California; The Art Museum, Florida International University, Miami; Hunterdon Museum of Art, Clinton, New Jersey; Laguna Art Museum, Laguna Beach, California; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, California; San Francisco State University, California; San Luis Obispo Art Center, San Luis Obispo, California; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, and is included in the collections of the di Rosa Preserve: Art & Nature, Napa, California and 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 email Nancy Hoffman Gallery at info@nancyhoffmangallery.com

Yours sincerely,

Nancy Hoffman