“Unified Diversity”: Tim Dignam at the Colborne Art Gallery
by Annie McDonald
I went to visit Tim Dignam at his daylight basement studio way out in the Baltimore area woods, and was thrilled at the paintings and sculpture that were underway for his upcoming feature show at the Colborne Art Gallery, entitled “Unified Diversity”. There I found the wide range of expression that I have come to expect from Tim: The work swings this way and that, both in materials and subject.
The first piece we talked about is an abstract construction sculpture, made from many pieces of wood, carefully joined at irregular angles, divided into spaces that are similar in area, but different in shape. “It’s like us. We are all different, but can work together.” He repeats the theme with a series of acrylic painted stretched canvas squares. Ambiguous, angular, architectural space is similarly created on the canvasses.
Dignam has an affinity with a variety of materials and will use almost anything that comes to hand to do the job. He is also familiar with traditional sculpture techniques, starting in clay, and finishing with a polyurethane casting material. He has a foot series that has been worked this way. Tim explains the subject of the sculpture. “The first images of Buddha were foot prints, long before western influences came along – only then was Buddha presented as a figure.” Tim likes the footprints because of the personal and visceral feel they elicit when viewed. They involve everybody.
My favorite of the new works is a wall installation made up of 16 square, painted canvasses that could be viewed separately but Tim’s intention is for us to view them together. The shapes are organic in nature and the curvilinear masses continue from one square section to another. Light is emitted from the complementary autumnal palette. Intriguing layers are created with underpainting and then scumbling with closely keyed colours on top to create a lively surface. An overall tension is created when the square sections work with the curvilinear forms. There is a strong sense of relationships, even conversations between the abstracted forms.
Tim Dignam’s family is deeply rooted in this area. Painting and the artistic life come naturally to him as his great grandmother was an accomplished and edgy feminist painter of her time. Tim follows this example as a founding member of The Colborne Art Gallery. He has contributed artworks for exhibit and also worked as curator there for many years.
Members of the Colborne Art Gallery warmly welcome all to attend an opening reception of “Unified Diversity”, with the artist present from 2-4pm, along with works from other members. The show continues Thursdays through Sundays, 12 – 5 pm, through September 29.