Tim Price paints to repeat life’s unexpected moments


When approaching painting, Tim Price begins with drawing—scores of drawings. Price fills whole sketch books, detailing images and visual references from memory and close observation. He likens this approach to a ‘living process’, something he can do amid the busyness of daily demands. It’s economical too—Price can experiment before applying paint to canvas. After the pages of one book are exhausted, he’ll start filling up another. Only a few drawings will ever become paintings, like those showing at Penny Contemporary.

The artist paints when he’s most relaxed—or if that’s not possible, at least the act of painting will allow him a feeling of calmness, enhancing creativity. The titles of Price’s expressive paintings read like a stream of consciousness, arguably mimicking the process of how they were produced.

His latest exhibition includes abstracted figurative paintings with titles like a sweaty little vision and birthday party cooma some time in 90s yeah that what it look like. In the aptly titled we see things, 2020, the eye is drawn toward three dominant shapes: a maroon succulent plant, two lovers ensnared in embrace, and a giant multicoloured bird (which could be one of many green rosellas Price saw when living in Hobart before his recent move to Sydney).

When it comes to his current work, the artist says he’s “trying to repeat life again”. As Price explains, “I realise a painting isn’t life, but I’m trying to evoke all the weird chances and strange things that go into life.” Yet, Price’s work also reveals the joy of observation and play with visual language. The exhibition title demonstrates this alone, formatted as <y<s To Hands, a symbolic way of writing ‘eyes to hands’. For Price, it all depends which way you look.

<y<s To Hands
Tim Price
Penny Contemporary
11 November—2 December

This article was originally published in the November/December 2022 print edition of Art Guide Australia.

Preview Words by Autumn Royal