7 May 2021
Tim Gatenby’s popular culture parodies often combining classical with modern imagery to create humorous paintings. His work uses examines art histories’ relationship with the Internet world we now inhabit.
There is a twisted nostalgia to Gatenby’s paintings. His work subverts not only through subject matter, but also through technique. Gatenby distorts familiar characters, typically drawn as brightly-coloured and crisp cartoons, by blurring lines between classical painting and modern imagery. As with a lot of appropriation art his work inherently says something about its time as it reflects collective imagery back onto society, reanalysing information in a sort of mirror.
Often combining deconstructed cartoon characters with dark humour, his images reflect the pressures of consumerism and modern societal tendency towards over indulgence. Fast food is an ever present theme in Gatenby’s work and is used as a vehicle to convey the easiness of modern life. The radical notion that never has becoming obese required less effort.
Despite the darkness found in the various styles and themes explored in Gatenby’s work, there are often playful, idiosyncratic moments that crop up, as if for his own amusement as much as the viewer’s. A joke or pun can be found through a depicted object seen out of place, or an expectation subverted by an oddity, giving the work a comedic touch of the absurd to cleverly contrast the heaviness found elsewhere.