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Alex Mar


‘The Power of Partnership’ at Stedilijk Museum Bureau, Amsterdam

 

Frieze

 

In 2001Tim Stoner was awarded the Beck’s Futures award for his fluent, ethereal and eerily anonymous paintings of the rituals of leisure. Stoner elevates these activities through a theatrical use of light, which throws the figures into glorious relief, their facial features impossible to decipher through the glow. Layers of thinly applied, almost flat, colour overlap as if shifting - the effect has been aptly described as that of looking at 3D imagery without the right glasses. Formally, Stoner’s compositions are dramatic: they have the impact of a distant sunburst.


The works in the show fell into two groups: images of dancing, smoking, wind-swept couples reminiscent of characters in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s stories, and the larger, perhaps more ambitious paintings of groups, which are delicately rendered yet monumental. These paintings evoke the 1973 cult film The Wicker Man, which depicts the lyricism of community life on a remote island and the pagan celebrations that take place there: a shared joy and unity that belie something sinister.

 

In Folk (2000) a group of dancing men and women in Sunday dress - complete with hats - dance holding hands in a broad circle beneath a string of small flags. Behind them a field of wild foliage stretches out; the roofs of modest houses are visible just beyond. The light is a twilight white and gold, which silhouettes the dancers. Beautifully rendered but faceless, they form an anonymous golden circle in a small town that seems both familiar and nameless. This group of paintings inspires a comparison with those of American painter John Currin in their display of sheer skill, and their combination of traditionally accepted ideas of beauty and with knowing references to more popular aesthetics. But whereas Currin’s subjects are defined by the eccentricities that mark them as part of a certain social set, Stoner’s subjects are stand-ins for society itself.

Martin Herbert


Art Review


What Tim Stoner specialises in are reverberant choreographies of figures, dosed with jittery ambivalence (a Busby Berkeley routine and a Nazi parade being but two extremes of the human desire for ordered, performative group activity). Formerly favouring a controlled backlighting-and-silhouette aesthetic suggestive of both blissful sunlight and a nuclear flash, the London-born, Spain-based artist now seems to be painting more loosely, with vaulting unease rooted as much in his paintwork’s elisions and slippages as in the banked-down ominousness of his compositions. 

Roberta Smith

‘Exploring Landscape’ at Andrea Rosen Gallery


New York Times


These 16 landscape paintings by eight British artists suggest that 1970's photorealism is prime territory for research, development and product diversification. All that is needed is a keen sense of craft, a skeptical self-consciousness and the time-honored strategy of serial appropriation.

Photographic images subjected to deft feats of hand, sometimes aided by computers, yield Dan Hays's trippy lenticular valleys; Michael Ashcroft's seemingly banal mountainscapes; and a magical little landscape by Daniel Sinsel, who should lose those stagy, accessorized paintings of nudes. The photograph as a ghostly afterimage informs Dee Ferris's pale Edenic forest scenes and Tim Stoner's silhouette of an ideal family on vacation, which resembles a Good Housekeeping version of a Matisse cutout.

Adrian Searle

 

The Guardian

 

‘A ring of dancers in some kind of national costume dancing under the bunting in the street, and a circle of cabaret dancers in high heels, hoofing through a routine in blue, hazy stagelight. Outlined in fierce penumbras of light, in both paintings the figures are immobilised in some strangely incandescent moment. The paintings have almost no discernible surface, there are no gestures, the light is too fierce. The figures are coruscated silhouettes. The subject of Stoner's work is light, and how painting both creates an illusory space and destroys it with its flatness. The figures imply movement and rhythm, but in painting this is impossible. The dance in painting - think Poussin, Renoir and Matisse - is always about this paradox between immobility and movement, time and timelessness. It is all just an accretion on the surface. What complex paintings they are. They make you realise what a rich, deceptive, unfinished business painting is.’