Finding beauty in the figure
This story was featured in the January 2014 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art January 2014 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story!
As a youngster, Timothy Rees had a wide variety of interests, from baseball to science. The life of an artist wasn’t exactly on his radar yet. But four years ago he was flipping through a magazine and happened to see paintings by Jeremy Lipking and Daniel Graves. Rees had once thought about becoming an animator. The idea that representational art was flourishing and that he could make a living pursuing it came as a revelation. Soon after this epiphany, he dropped out of college. He began poring over art books, signed up for a workshop with Lipking, and eventually moved to Chicago to paint and draw at the Palette & Chisel Academy of Fine Arts five days a week. A year later he held his first solo show at the Palette & Chisel and was soon asked to teach drawing and painting classes there. In 2012 he won a top award at the academy’s annual Gold Medal Show.
Today Rees calls Arizona home, and although he works masterfully in three genres—figurative, still life, and landscape—it is the human figure that speaks to him as an artist. While the figure may be more challenging, it also offers him countless stylistic ways to render beauty, he says. And, in his opinion, figures have the most potential to engage the viewer on a personal level.
In the expressionistic painting THE ORANGE DRESS, what struck Rees most forcefully was the presence of various contrasts in the scene. For example, the model was sleeping peacefully, yet she wore a bright orange dress that seemed “to shout,” Rees says. In general, though, his artistic mission is to evoke the world as he sees it—simple, beautiful, and with the textures, colors, and shapes that please him. “Overall, the thing I try to convey most in my work is beauty, as technically sound as I can manage, and hopefully I can connect to the viewer through this fundamental aspect of humanity,” Rees says. —Bonnie Gangelhoff
Scottsdale Fine Art, Scottsdale, AZ.
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