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Work / Illustration

Tim Lahan: “I gravitate toward the rocks because they feel so certain and immovable”

“Rocks are probably the crudest element or tool to use when creating something and I’m drawn to that. I’m trying to see how far I can stretch using the rock motif as a ’medium’,” says Tim Lahan of his ongoing series of rock paintings. “I think it comes from a place of having all kinds of fancy tools at our disposal but still sort of yearning to simplify and build something that feels real or tangible, and maybe has a sense of permanence. Most things these days feel so fleeting and I think I gravitate toward the rocks because they feel so certain and immovable.”

One the past few years the work has been appearing on Tim’s instagram, starting out as cut paper and ink collages before evolving into paintings. “I think painting gives me a lot more freedom but also forces me to be mindful of not getting too intricate with things,” he says. “I also did a few out of wood to see how they would translate in a physical space.” Tim readily admits he doesn’t have a plan for the work, maybe an exhibition in the future. “I don’t always make things that have a destination. I’m generally making things to indulge a curiosity or idea.”

The series has also started to incorporate more figurative elements, moving away from the abstract origins of the compositions. “I wanted to graduate toward conveying specific things if I could. A lot of the figurative nuances make the image feel more monumental or totemic,” explains Tim. “I also want to play with the idea of ‘seeing the face in things’, like when you look up at the clouds and can ‘see’ a dog or a face – the innate response that our brains are constantly looking for identifiers and patterns in our environment to establish a sense of comfort or social familiarity.” 

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Tim Lahan: Rocks

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Tim Lahan: Rocks

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Tim Lahan: Rocks

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Tim Lahan: Rocks

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Tim Lahan: Rocks

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Tim Lahan: Rocks

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Tim Lahan: Rocks

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Tim Lahan: Rocks

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Tim Lahan: Rocks

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Tim Lahan: Rocks

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Tim Lahan: Rocks

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Tim Lahan: Rocks