Thursday, April 13, 2006

Tim Prythero's "Used Cars:" The Organic Beauty of a Caught Moment

NOB HILL--If you have ever seen Tim Prythero's work you will remember it. It captures your attention. It draws you inside its Lilliputian world and makes your eyes open with wonder. Finally, after all the questions of "how did he do that?" and all the amazement at the incredible detail of each diorama...finally you ask, "Why?"

Not why did he spend so much time painstakingly recreating the mess in his neighbor's yard, but why is every detail important here. Is the artist telling a story? Is there something being said about life itself? How is this different from other miniaturizations of our model railroads?

Eventually I think I came to feel that all these objects were opaque. That is, they are what they are...period. And like a lot of things in life, you can look at that old trailer, call it an eyesore, and call county zoning...or you can say, "Yes, all that is true. It is an eyesore. But interesting nonetheless. It has the organic beauty of a caught moment: a guess at history, a hint of the future, but ultimately a nod to the present."

Well...probably you wouldn't ever say THAT, but you could. His pieces are artifacts that certainly remind one of the constant pressure of time. As Whitehead once said (somewhere), "Time is in fact a son of a bitch!" It is impossible to view these pieces without thinking about the past and present. As for the future...these items look as if the future is now.

I first saw one of his trailers in the wonderful Roswell Museum and Art Center. I saw another of his trailers in the Albuquerque Museum. That is how I was introduced to his work. Once you have seen one close up, you never forget it.

Prythero lives up in the north valley on 4th St., but shows mostly in New York City, so getting to see an exhibit like this is pretty special.

Exhibit/208 (208 Dartmouth SE) is showing several of Prythero's pieces in an exhibit entitled, "Used Cars." Go. You will not forget what his scuptures look like. The difficult thing about going is the gallery hours: 10 - 4 Saturdays or by appointment. The exhibit lasts until April 29th.


pegadoc said...

I'm putting this on my calendar for next Saturday. These look really interesting! I don't know that I'd view an actual run down trailer as a thing of beauty, but I might do for one of these crafted miniatures.

Thanks for keeping us aware of what talent we have in our very own town, Johnny!


Drivin' in my car said...

When it comes to cars, you know I can check to see the consensus!

laredo said...

Tim Prythero is to my mind the Joseph Cornell of rural America. The biggest difference is that he crafts the entire universe of each creation from scratch, rather than playing with the found object world of Cornell.

His art reminds me of the tiny old schoolhouse in the yard across from my childhood home, which had such detail of the time period in which it was built, with the trunk and the textbooks and the clothing of the brave teacher who had set up in that field. The whole thing disappeared mysteriously one day, and no-one knew how much they missed it until it was gone.

I feel that Tim fills that primal need - to document our history no matter how humble or seemingly insignificant. I believe he is one of our great treasures culturally, and would love to see him as revered in his home town as he is in more sophisticated art markets like NY, or LA. He needs to be taken much more seriously as a great 3-D photorealist, and I thank you for posting about him for others to discover!

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