Fiber artist Tim Harding creates impressionistic wall pieces with layered, cut and stitched silks. His works are characterized by vibrant, lustrous colors and faceted textures that capture light with subtle illusions of depth and motion. Tim applies principles of simultaneous contrast in his work, placing multiple solid colors in tight proximity to achieve his desired effects. “I use a unique, self-developed physical technique of reverse appliqué which makes use of the intrinsic properties of my materials while creating an interesting interplay of surface and structure,” says the artist. “Even though colors, textures and patterns are repeated, the sophistication of this technique assures an infinite number of variations.”
Collaborating with his wife Kathleen, Tim also designs wearable art in the distinctive Harding style. The Hardings’ jackets and tea coats are hand cut and crafted entirely in the artists’ Stillwater, MN studio from yarn dyed and hand loomed dupioni shantung Indian silk. As with the wall pieces, silks are slashed and frayed in the construction of this work. “There is a culturally ingrained preciousness to fabric,” Tim explains. “We must not tear or soil our ‘good’ clothes. And yet these textiles have a tempting vulnerability. My work is based on the act of violating this taboo.”
The artist, who has a background in painting and photography, is influenced by the work of Claude Monet and other Impressionist painters as well as color field painters, especially Mark Rothko. Tim’s work blurs perceived divisions between art and craft. “The lack of barriers between art and life in primitive and other non-Western cultures inspires in my own work the commitment to pursue aesthetic investigation in a medium traditionally outside of our own culture’s fine art hierarchy,” he states.
Tim’s award-winning pieces have been exhibited nationally and internationally. The artist has been the recipient of fellowships from Arts Midwest, the Minnesota State Arts Board and the National Endowment for the Arts. His work is included in numerous corporate collections and in the permanent collections of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts; the Minnesota Museum of American Art in St. Paul; the Smithsonian Institution’s Renwick Gallery in Washington, DC; the Cooper-Hewitt Museum in New York and the Kwangju Museum of Art in South Korea. Tim and Kathleen’s garments are featured in Julie Shafler Dale’s definitive book Art to Wear.