FLIP THE SCRIPT
50°51′6″ N 0°33′28″E
The documentation of a personal jorney
Fine Art Prints
Nick Glass interviews Tim Nathan in the run up to the Exhibition "FLIP THE SCRIPT 50°51′6″ N 0°33′28″ E"
When I first looked at Tim Nathan's recent works I used the words 'many have witnessed such scenes but few have captured them’, of course though we ourselves are captive to nature's grand illusions and stand marveling in its elusive presence.
What we witness in the evening is gone by morning and so too, the morning skies and horizons are long gone by nightfall.
For Tim Nathan this recent work is a marked end point in what seems to have been a personal journey. What went before were fleeting abstractions and diverse figurative sketches, in which the artist is playing with form and pathos with bold yet delicate strokes of the ink pen. What we are witnessing is a discovery of the world through glass again, a return to the photographic.
Here in this new zen like phase, that is expressive, yet both rigid and disciplined, Tim rests his eyes on that which we seek but never find, only to discover that it was there right in front of our eyes all the time.
It is as if the drama and anticipation of changing skies and moody seas echo the complication and confusion of our troubled minds. These scenes witnessed through a lens and cast within a frame speak of personal human pain, experiences and circumstances, temper our suffering. The sea and sky bring us a calm wonder and visceral moments in time. Nature's visual gift to us is that of peace and joy.
Many years ago I read a book by Carl Jung. It was certainly amongst the most important books that I ever read. In this book, as i remember, was a chapter on the meaning of art. There was a page with a black and white plate covering half of it, it was a picture of a harvested cornfield, flat featureless land with some crows, small and black in the distance.
The reader was invited to give an opinion on the picture. 'Bleak but unremarkable' I think was my verdict. Jung then said 'Now look at the picture again , In the knowledge that this was the last picture painted by Van Gough before he shot himself.
The experience was revelatory and though it happened forty years ago something in me must have avowed that if I ever came across such a message in a picture again I would do my best to recognise it. Such a phenomenon occurred for me for the first time since that day when Tim began posting the first his sequence of seascapes. I saw Death. I imagined 'This was the last picture the photographer took before walking into the sea' written at the bottom.
It was the darkest days of midwinter, peak morbidity and hospitalisation in the Delta Covid wave. Whatever was going on in Tim's personal universe at that time it chimed perfectly with the mood of the town, the country, maybe even of all humanity. It did not take too much imagination in those not so far off days days to feel that for the first time in many generations, once again The Reaper stalked our land.
I have lived by the sea nearly all my life, even spent some years living upon it. It is as familiar to me as my own face I have seen it go from sheet of glass to Hurricane and back again. I know it. I live by Tim I have the same view of that horizon every day as he does and yet these photographs, these pictures of that so familiar thing stopped me in my tracks, grabbed me by the scruff of the neck and commanded, Like Jung did all those years ago 'Now Look again'
NOW LOOK AGAIN'
Each photograph in this series is both a meditation on our relationship with the natural world, and a celebration of its dramatic beauty.
Popular psychology recommends engaging with something bigger than ourselves in order to heal a fragile mind, and Tim has described his personal story in relation to the work as a transformative journey from despair to high spirits. Stepping away from the dubious business of ‘self-expression’ he has instead deployed persistence and quiet discipline to record the daily phenomena of the sea. The result is a rich and complex narrative of the undisciplined behaviour of air and water; one in which dark clouds release a veil of rain far from the shore anticipating a storm, a whisp of cloud hovers in an almost clear sky, above a tranquil sea, or a full moon casts a nicotine hue across the dark water. Whilst we recognise the scene, the dramatic sensuality that emerges from each image’s composition and the powerful body of work seen together is less familiar.
In her famous love letter to the Cairngoms, ‘The Living Mountain’ Nan Shepherd describes moments in her relationship to the landscape when ‘something moves between me and it. Place and mind may interpenetrate until the nature of both are altered’. ’something has been altered here, and we are richer for it’
SOMETHING HAS BEEN ALTERED HERE