TIM KENT -7TH October – 20TH October 2007

1st December 2011




Tim Kent’s latest exhibition examines the historic interiors of many of the most interesting houses in West Sussex from the Stately homes of Uppark, Petworth House and Parham Park to numerous sequestered private houses dating from the Middle Ages to the Victorian Era.  Around fifteen paintings provide a rare opportunity to glimpse inside some of the finest houses in the county.  No artist has ever been allowed access to such a superb collection of Sussex homes, both public and private on this scale before.

Tim Kent grew up in New York graduating from the City University of New York in 2001.  From 2004-2005 he completed a post graduate diploma at West Dean College in Sussex gaining a distinction.  This is his second major exhibition with the Moncrieff-Bray Gallery.  The first, Flux Project, in 2005 centred on a three-month residency at the gallery.  He has also shown regularly in New York and is a dynamic emerging talent on the International arts scene.

The title is a play on the word camera the Latin for room and the camera used to capture the initial images themselves.  It also refers to the many artists who have used and are using a camera or camera obscura in their work such as Richard Hamilton, Thomas Eakins, Degas, Vermeer and Canaletto.

Kent’s working technique marries past and present bringing a contemporary edge to this traditional subject matter.  It involves the use of extensive digital photography, computer manipulation and complex perspective drawings to arrive at the finished image. While relying on these devices for the structure and composition, Kent is first and foremost a painter.  The paintings are intensely romantic and atmospheric. His use and manipulation of paint in creating light, tone and atmosphere are superb.  There is often a sense of ambiguity in the spaces depicted.  While the rooms appear real the perspective is subtlety distorted enhancing the vistas and dramatic architectural details.  Light streaming in from various sources is the key protagonist.

While at West Dean Kent became intrigued by the contrast between his steamy, urban Manhattan environment and upbringing and the echoing, empty but resonate spaces of the English Country home.  In many of the paintings there is a sense of the owners both past and present.  Sometimes figures appear but more often the rooms are empty.  The viewer is placed in a voyeuristic position, peering into these intimate domestic settings where the presence of generations of owners is palpably felt through layers of design, decoration and personal possessions.

‘As I explored the various private places, social spaces and magnificent stately rooms of these houses I was struck by how smoothly they all co-existed. The distinct tastes of the present owners did not compromise their allegiances to the traditions of English culture and heritage. The houses appeared a seamless
marriage of past and present combing the historical and contemporary aesthetic.  As the light streamed in from tall lancet or Georgian windows it accentuated the impeccable craftsmanship, the extraordinary colors of the walls, the lush textures of carpets, curtains and the whimsical moldings and ornate sylvan relief work’, commented Tim Kent.