Red Van, Northern Quarter by Tim Garner

Red Van, Northern Quarter by Tim Garner
Red Van, Northern Quarter by Tim Garner

Another piece within Tim Garner's Northern Quarter series, 'Red, Van, Northern Quarter' offers us a bird's eye view into a bustling city street within Manchester's beloved Northern Quarter. We float above the dynamic street below, observant yet detached - we can hear the cars moving around us, we can feel the rhythm of the city. A red van draws our eye to the centre - where could it be going?

'Red Van, Northern Quarter' is another piece within Tim Garner's esteemed Northern Quarter series. A body of work which portrays a much-loved area within the heart of Manchester, these works portray and celebrate the historic and modern structures in the city side by side. This area of the city is known for embracing both the old and new Manchester – it is a fusion of the past and present, with its trendy new bars and eateries located within the rich, historical architecture. In this piece, we are offered a new perspective of the city, placed at a bird's eye view which creates the illusion that we are floating above the city streets. Garner will often find these high vantage points in the city in spaces such as car parks, using them to take his reference images and presenting us with a perspective which we wouldn't often get. We are observant whilst also being detached from the scene - which is an interesting and distinctive conflict that resides within many of Garner's works. Those familiar with Manchester will be aware of how quickly the city can change – Garner’s paintings have a way of bringing this to a standstill, capturing the city at a specific moment in time, making it seem permanent. Since this piece was painted, this street will inevitably already have changed and transformed. “Symbolically, you’re on a road, which is a metaphor for life” The title of this piece alludes us to the red van in the centre, which stands luminous against a murky concrete backdrop. We can almost feel the cars moving around us, establishing a rhythm which brings this piece to life. The concrete road guides our eye up towards pops of teal and yellow, which creates a pleasing pull and balance within the predominantly grey composition. Garner is known for exploring these different visual languages and devices through painting, but without being too formulaic - he sees painting as an extension of the self, interpreting what's around us in a way that's both physical and metaphysical. Garner works with a combination of industrial materials such as metals and cement to appropriate the dirt and grit of the Northern city streets, paired with a colour palette of metallics and iridescent paints to imbue texture, light and depth. His works are made using a rigorous process of applying layer upon layer of thinly mixed ground paint onto the surface, taking any time from ten days to three weeks. Through this process, Garner has captured a still moment in time, a snapshot of the mundane, anti-landmarks of a city, expanded to a work of fine art. This is a prominent theme throughout Garner’s oeuvre, establishing a certain honesty within it.

Based in his home studio in Stockport, Tim Garner is an artist who captures cityscapes through his own avant-garde lens. Inspired from his time living between Manchester and Paris, Garner works from photography and photo collage as his primary references, taking advantage of their visual immediacy and accuracy. Paint and cement are then used as a way of injecting emotive layers of meaning, forming Garner's distinctive style and flair. Through this process Garner has established his own visual language, which is imbued with character. His works are comfortingly familiar to a Northern audience, whilst enlightening and educating wider audiences. A piece of Mancunian history, this artwork would be a valuable asset for any contemporary art space, collection or home.