Tim Tate: The Persistence of Visions

May 18-August 4, 2019

Glass and video sculptor Tim Tate takes a new approach to the common approaches to producing and displaying glass sculpture, incorporating new materials to transform the inherent physical  principles of both glass and video. In this exhibition, Tate departs for a moment from a review of objects to create an immersive environment that focuses on the visions of the future from the perspective of Ophelia.

About Tim Tate

Artist Statement

Blending a traditional craft with new media technology gives me the framework in which I fit my artistic narrative. In my work I explore moving images and endless mirrors to achieve my interest in contemporary work with the aesthetic of Victorian techno-fetishism, which emerged from my fascination with Jules Verne as a boy. Artwork and video I believe will be societies relics of the future. I like to reference many possible histories, and will do so with video or mirrors, to show our common artistic ancestry and illustrate alternate paths. Perhaps centuries from now my work will have the same presence as abandoned archaic machines from the turn of the last century, as people marvel over what could have possibly been its intent.

In my endless mirrors, I try to entice the viewer to look deeply into and completely experience my windows into alternative dimensions. My works create an optical and bodily illusion of infinity through apparently limitless space. There is an intimacy implied by viewing deeply into a circular opening, as if peering through a portal to witness another endlessly repeating reality. These pieces create a visual space that doesn't actually exist in reality, but claims volume none the less. We literally look into a dimension that doesn't share space in this world.

The constant repetition of imagery also speaks to us of timelines: ones that go endlessly into the future or extend endlessly into the past. These repetitions reference society mired into static social patterns, some good, some bad. 

We look inside these portals as if seeing into a dream, fully realizing that this is but an illusion. But even though we know it is a illusion that should not stop us from freely examining it, and hopefully seeing another world at the same time.

Uncomfortable with any single defining time, I prefer sliding through the centuries; from 19th century Victorian techno-fetishism, to mid and late 20th century references to endless mirrors and studio glass to 21st century electronics and political focus. Perhaps all my work can be defined by how uncomfortable I am with definitions.

My work hovers between subjects of scientific curiosity, Contemporary video imagery, relics, rituals and dreams. My interests lie in finding the relics of the future while honoring the past. To me, these works are transparent reliquaries of sorts in which bits of saints’ bones or hair — relics — are displayed, with simultaneous intimacy and distance. . In many cultures and religions, relics are believed to have healing powers. My relics can be temporal; sounds and moving images formally enshrined, encapsulating experiences like cultural specimens. And perhaps, to the contemporary soul, they are no less reliquaries than those containing the bones of a saint.

With technology rapidly changing the way we perceive art, the current day contemporary landscape closely mirrors Victorian times in the arts. We marvel at and invent bridges between past and present in an effort to define our time and make sense of this highly transitory moment in artistic history.

Tim Tate is Co-Founder of the Washington Glass School and Studio. His work is in the permanent collections of a number of museums, including the Smithsonian's American Art Museum and the Mint Museum. He is the subject of several articles in American Style, American Craft, and Sculpture magazines, as well as the Washington Post and Times newspaper reviews. He was also the 2010 recipient of the $35,000 Virginia Groot Foundation Award for sculpture.

He taught in Istanbul in August 2007 and at Penland School on several occasions. In 2009 he received an award from the Museum of American Glass in New Jersey as one of the “Rising Stars of the 21st Century”.  He received his Fulbright Award from Sunderland, University in England in 2012. He is also the founder of “Glass Secessionism”. Tim shows his work at numerous International Art Fairs, such as ArtBasel Switzerland, Art Miami, SOFA and Frieze, London.

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