Interview: Timothy Harding: Between Dimensions

Floor, Corner, Ceiling, 2009, graphite on paper, variable dimensions 

     Constructed Corner Drawing, 2013, graphite and aluminum foil tape on paper, 
     various lighting and electrical, variable dimensions

Drawing, 2015, graphite on hand-cut paper, various lighting 
and electricalvariable dimensions

Can you discuss how the relationship between the 2D and 3D plays out in your work?

I became interested in exploring three-dimensional space towards the end of my undergraduate studies. At that time I was making works that borrowed heavily from the traditions of abstract expressionist painting. Without having much background in sculpture, I became compelled to create a piece that had many elements that emerged out from the painting surface in a relief format. I think I had just hit a dead end with my paintings and heading towards three-dimensions seemed to be the logical thing to do. Over the following years, I removed the painting methods and focused more on drawing. Ultimately I ended up with the installation based works that were produced with paper and lighting. I started doing the cutout drawings because I felt it liberated the drawing from two-dimensional space and allowed it to become an object. I became (and still am) very wrapped up in works that are experiential and rely heavily on being perceived in space by the viewer.

86” x 74” on 70” x 58”, 2015, acrylic on canvas, 76” x 72” x 9 

64” x 52” on 52” x 40”, 2015, acrylic on canvas, 55” x 44” x 10” 

2 20” x 18” with Chair, 2016, acrylic on canvas, found chair, 32” x 21” x 20” 

      21” x  19” x 13” with Wheels, 2016, acrylic on canvas over found frame, casters,    
        lights and dimmer, 21” x 19” x 23” 

17” x 18” with Legs, 2016, acrylic on canvas, found legs, 16” x 17” x 18”

What role does space play in your installations and wall pieces?

As I stated in the other response, I am very interested in three-dimensional space and having it come in to conversation with traditionally two-dimensional methods and materials, such as graphite line drawings. While in graduate school, I began looking at the architecture of people like Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, and many others. I was fascinated by their formal approaches to building but also how these formal concerns shaped the interior spaces of their buildings. My installations had a similar intent in engaging interior space. The obvious difference being I had to deal with an already existing space where they have the opportunity to create their own. This is also where the lighting elements came from, I wanted to have an element that allowed the work to more aggressively confront the existing architecture.

Can you talk about the role that "sagging" grid has (and its evolution) in your installations and singular drawings/paintings?

The grid is the most recent formal device to enter in to my work. I started using it about three years ago. I initially it was the background for an installation, a uniform field for me to compose a work on top of. Shortly after this installation I decided I wanted to make singular works again as I had been working exclusively in installation for a few years. I decided to move back towards painting more directly, something I hadn’t really worked in since my first semester of graduate school. I decided on the grid as my subject because it gave me a constant to work with, I didn’t want to have to come up with the “what” to paint each time. I also see the grid as a universally recognizable thing without being overtly specific. I do this to continue that engagement with the viewer. My aim is that they immediately recognize the grid as a subject and with the sagged or crumpled elements it becomes this familiar thing gone awry.

     Loop (installation View), 2016, acrylic on canvas, graphite on hand-cut paper, 
     wood, various lighting and electrical,variable dimensions 

Loop (installation view), 2016, acrylic on canvas, graphite on hand-cut paper, wood, various lighting and electrical, variable dimensions

Who are your influences? 

Over the years I have had many different influences in painting, sculpture, and architecture. One of my longest standing influences is probably Frank Stella. I often joke that I discovered and appreciated his work in reverse order from what most people do. I first encountered is more three-dimensional works from the past couple decades and worked my way back to his black paintings of the late 50s. In addition to him, the work of Robert Irwin and his manipulation of space inspires me. As mentioned earlier, Frank Gehry and Zaha Hadid. More recently, sculptors like Sarah Sze and painters like Laura Owens. There are so many.

What is new in your studio?

I’m at a place of experimentation in my studio right now, as I don’t have anything specific I am working towards. I’ve been playing with using the paintings as pieces in installations, much like I used to do with paper.  I seem to have this trend of working in installation then in objects and back in installation, and continued that cycle. I’ve also been playing with combining my paintings with pieces of furniture. It’s an idea that still very much in development but I’m interested in the work taking on a social space of sorts. I’ve been working in architectural space for some time and furniture obviously is a part of that space, but I feel it gives the work a different social context.


Timothy Harding is an artist based in Fort Worth, TX. He is represented in Dallas by Cris Worley Fine Arts and is Assistant Professor of Art at Tarleton State University in Stephenville, TX. His work can be found at


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