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"Gravity's Rainbows" by Dave Hickey
"Gravity's Rainbows" by Dave Hickey
From: Tim Bavington: Paintings 1998-2005 (Steidl: Gottingen) 2005

Young artists have sharper memories than their seniors in the art world. As a consequence, Tim Bavington’s paintings always come as a bit of a surprise to his elders. Their renewal, refurbishment, and re- conceptualization of a traditional modernist painting format (the stripe) makes them seem at once joltingly new and uneasily familiar—for no better reason than that most young artists begin their careers unpersuaded by the faith of their fathers. Thus, empowered by youthful contempt for received ideas, they begin to make a future for themselves by rummaging through the past by way of reinventing it—hoping, at least, to discover some clean, unsullied, historical ground from which they might embark. So they look back for that magical moment “right before it started sucking,” a year or a decade, some nadir of current fashion from which they shake the dust. When they find it, and they invariably do, they endow the moment with talismanic significance and proceed from there.

"After Image" by Joe Houston
"After Image" by Joe Houston
From: Optic Nerve. Perceptual Art of the 1960’s, Columbus Museum of Art. (Merrell Publishers Limited: London) 2007

Tha British-born Bavington devised a chromatic system that keys color to notes on the twelve-tone scale, with which he "scores" his vibrant abstractions. This Postmodern reinvention of the Orphist endavor results in a visual equivalent of rock and roll. Bavington eschews the presumed emotional connotations of color dating back to Goethe and instead conveys pitch, timbre, tone, and tempo through analogous alterations in the hue, intensity, value, and width of his stripes. The glissando of juxtaposed notes is also mimicked in the relative softness of his airbrushed edges. The grand scale of paintings like Little x Little heightens spatial and temporal experience, in which the "music" unfolds in time as the viewer walks in front of the canvas, invoking Gene Davis's music-inspired notion of "an art of space intervals."

"The Songs Do Not Remain the Same" by David Pagel
"The Songs Do Not Remain the Same" by David Pagel
From: Tim Bavington: Changes (L & L Printing: San Diego) 2011

This is what Bavington is after in his unsentimental yet moving art, and it is also the best way to get the most out of his stylishly sexy paintings. Comprised of fuzzy bands, floating rectangles, and, occasionally, extremely out-of-focus imagery, these artificially compartmentalized—and wildly inventive—rainbows come in an infinite variety of trippy tertiary tints that are all the more mesmerizing for blending, clashing, and sizzling with an equally subtle and even more lovely range of delicate, whisper-soft pastels. Bavington electrifies the mix by shooting it through with a keyed-up cornucopia of screaming neon bands and, most recently, a singularly kinky panoply of atmospheric drabs and diaphanous mattes, ordinarily dreary tones and subdued shades that he somehow manages to transform into jaw-dropping, mind-bending, soul-expanding orchestrations of visual resplendence, like nothing else out there. [...] You have to see Bavington’s virtuoso repertoire of coloristic high jinks to believe it; and even then, his sensuous riffs on the spectrum’s natural tones and organic blends defy comprehension. Taking greater liberties with the structures his art starts out with, Bavington amplifies the mystery and the magic. 

"Streams of Sound " by Jim Daichendt
"Streams of Sound " by Jim Daichendt
From: Tim Bavington—POPTIMIST, Azuza Pacific University. Essays by Jim Daichendt, Dave Hickey and David Pagel (Azuza Pacific University: Azuza) 2014

While the works of Tim Bavington have the aesthetic markers of high art, the cultural relevancy of lowbrow album covers, coupled with a background in illustration, makes his blend of language especially interesting. Immediately appealing and desirable, the surface-level lust for the neon is as American as anything and appropriate for a Las Vegas-based artist. Yet it's the history of sound and light and his evolving process that prompt return visits to his work. Bavington has built his work upon conceptually cool plastic roots well received critically. Being visual representations of the audible, it's difficult for the viewer not to embrace the musical aestehtic that fills the room. They are fun—and equally serious works. The adaptation of modern techniques joined with his transcendent forms and fields of color make for an exciting combinaiton of his streams of influence.

"Bavington: Refined"  by Dave Hickey
"Bavington: Refined" by Dave Hickey
From: Tim Bavington—POPTIMIST, Azuza Pacific University. Essays by Jim Daichendt, Dave Hickey and David Pagel (Azuza Pacific University: Azuza) 2014

Bavington's aim is refined synesthesia—to give his beholders some visible good listening, whose quality they might discern. His methodology is simplicity itself. He paints stripes, or slacks or bands of stripes, that signify clefs to describe expressive melodic lines played by an electric guitar. Note lenghts are translated into stripe widths. The scale is translated into a spectrum of hues around triads in a key. The hues vary in pitch and value. Among other things, this method solves the "stripe-painter's problem": what color goes next to which? This is given in the music. As a result, Bavington's paintings are easily as synthetic as teh most disciplined conceptualization and easilty more remote. They  begin as crypto-expressive narratives. Bevington encodes expressive music into bright and frozen waterfalls in fog. 

"Poptimist" by David Pagel
"Poptimist" by David Pagel
From: Tim Bavington—POPTIMIST, Azuza Pacific University. Essays by Jim Daichendt, Dave Hickey and David Pagel (Azuza Pacific University: Azuza) 2014

The airbrushed acrylics on canvas provided Bavington with just the right mix of freedom and necessity, will and determinism, order and randomness, work and play, rigor and recklessness. Viewers got a lot more than that: electrifying abstractions that hummed, buzzed and sizzled with visual energy. Bavington's rock-insprired paintings ran the gamut, somethimes slipping subtly, with unbelievably eloquent delicacy, from one tone to another, and at other times hitting hard, as if delivering the deep gutteral rumble of those bass notes you feel in your solar plexus and react to, in your lizard brain, long before your cerebral cortex even gets wind of what your body is already intimately involved with.

"Gene Davis: The Freshmaker" by Andrea Pollen
"Gene Davis: The Freshmaker" by Andrea Pollen
From: Gene Davis: Interval, Essays by Jean Lawlor Cohen and Andrea Pollen (The Kreeger Museum, Washington, DC) 2007

Tim Bavington, a leader in the new geometric abstraction, creates large, airbrushed polymer paintings whose stripes function as indexes to guitar riffs from classic rock songs. Bavington indicates that the mathematical proportions of his stripes' widths represent the length of those musical pieces. In Makin' Out (2005), he experiments with the ration of vertical stripes to an extended horizonal canvas and, in the center, constructs a compact dynamic tension. Color represents the auditory sound shifts. Living in Las Vegas influences his unusual palette, whose desert shades appear alongside acidic colors to create a crackling electricity.

"Compositional effects of color" by Paul Zelanski and Mary Pat Fisher
"Compositional effects of color" by Paul Zelanski and Mary Pat Fisher
Color, Sixth Edition, Essays by Paul Zelanski and Mary Pat Fisher, (Prentice Hall: New Jersey) 2010

In non-objective as well as representational art, we interpret contrasts in hue and value as having spatial meaning, making some areas appear to pop forward, while others seem to recede into the background. Tim Bavington's Step (In) Out is painted in stripes that continually vary in degrees of hue and value contrasts. At first glance it may appear flat, but as you continue to stare at it without trying to hold it flat mentally, it will quickly develop a spatial pattern that goes in and out. 

"The Best Defense" by David Pagel
"The Best Defense" by David Pagel
Painting <=> Design. Essays by Libby Lumpkin and David Pagel (Claremont Graduate University: Claremont) 2007

Painting <=> Design aims to push the discussion beyond the either-or rut in which it seems to be stuck. The exhibition brings together works by nine Southern California artists from several generations who work within and around the idiom of design. What unites their diverse paintings on canvas, panel, and metal is the simple idea that the best defense is a good offense. Rather than waiting around for design to set the terms of the debate, and responding, reactively, to its assertions, these paintings make the first move and address design from the get-go. In various ways, Tim Bavington, Karl Benjamin, Bart Esposito, Frederick Hammersley, Darcy Huebler, Jim Isermann, Jean Lowe, Kim MacConnel and Candace Nycz establish their own dialogues with the wide world of design, making paintings athat are not territorial or stand-offish, but open-ended and promiscuous—cosmopolitan, urbine, free-wheeling, and eccentrically individualistic.

"Extreme Needs Abstraction" by Claire Schneider
"Extreme Needs Abstraction" by Claire Schneider
From: Extreme Abstraction. Essays by Loius Grachos and Claire Schneider, (Albright-Knox Art Gallery: Buffalo) 2005

I would argue the extreme is the word of today. It's the adjective that appears on everything from nail polish, television make-over programs, Doritos snack chips, toothpaste, and tow trucks, to a whole new genre of sports. Extreme has become the word to describe the unusual, extraordinary, daring, out-there, and the especially intense and dramatic. Extreme is the new cool. [...] Today, new is extreme. Consider the Hammer, Las Vegas, cable TV, and postmodern theory. In a manner of speaking, one could say that Buffalo's Albright-Knox Art Gallery is abstraction. Extreme Abstraction celebrates this legacy in a truly contemporary way, by surrendering the entire museum to this great language in a way that reveres the old masters, but takes them out of an historical comfort zone into an arena of experimentation and risk that is the backbone of this great institution.

"One neon decade" by Dave Hickey
"One neon decade" by Dave Hickey
From: Las Vegas Diaspora, Curated by Dave Hickey (Las Vegas Art Museum, Las Vegas) 2007

During the 1990s, the artists in Las Vegas Diaspora: The Emergence of Contemporary Art from the Neon Homeland were students of mine in the art department at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. [...] I wanted to recruit the best, teach them how to play defense, and hope they make the pros. Nice personalities and tidy middle-class backgrounds were not a priority for me. [...] I depended on the recommendations of good artists at good schools. I tried to recruit smart, well-educated kids from big cities, and the young artists who actually came to Vegas were all that. [...] I remember walking into Tim Bavington's studio and seeing the first visibly and intellectiualy coherent group of abstract paintings the program produced. Since Tim's day-job at that time was drawing for The Simpsons, I considered this to be, if not a big step up at least a giant-step over.

"Up Close and different" by David Pagel
"Up Close and different" by David Pagel
From: softcore HARD EDGE, Perceptual Art of the 1960’s, Columbus Museum of Art, (The Art Gallery of Calgary, Alberta) 2011

This type of painting emerged in Los Angeles in the late 1950s. Its leading figures were John McLaughlin, Karl Benjamin, Frederick Hammersley and Lorser Feitelson. Critic Jules Langsner coined the term "hard edge" as a fairly straightforward description of the clean contours and precise edges of the shapes in their abstract paintimgs. The California half of the exhibition is built around the works of Karl Benjamin, Billy Al Bengston and Lee Mullican, who all began exhibiting in the 1950s. The six other artists in this half of the show build on the work of Benjamin, Bengston, and Mullican. Tim Bavington and Candace Nycz are the most clear-cut hard edgers. They take the supersaturated tints of Benjamin and soften their edges without diminishing their impact. 

“Yek and Tim Bavington” by Dave Hickey
“Yek and Tim Bavington” by Dave Hickey
From: Feigen Gallery, NY 2001

Tim Bavington arrived in Las Vegas from Shepherd's Bush in London (via Art Center in Pasadena) and he remains now what he was then, the thinking man's Mod—the progeny of Quadrophrenia and Bridget Riley's great paintings from the Sixties. When he arrived in Las Vegas, Bavington was painting hard-surfaced, west-coast monochromes, studying Bridget Riley's work from the seventies, drawing comic books for The Simpsons, and making perfect forgeries of Ed Ruscha paintings like Dixie Red Seville Vegas Plates because he couldn't afford to buy one. Then one day, almost over night, all four of these fugitive endeavors came together in a series of small airbrushed paintings of fuzzy stripes in cartoon colors. They had it all and looked for all the world like neon in the mist.

"Tim Bavington" by David Pagel
"Tim Bavington" by David Pagel
From: Ultralounge, The Return of Social Space (with cocktails). Essays by Dave Hickey and David Pagel, (DiverseWorks, Houston, TX) 1998

Tim Bavington's pristine paintings redeem visual static. Like the garbled crackles and hisses that interupt the music on your car radio, or the electronic "snow" that breaks up the picture on your TV, his painterly disruptions prevent the transmission of clear messages. Unlike these annoying intrusions into scheduled programming, however, Bavington's static is fun to look at. Initially unanticipated, then welcomed, then finally addictive, Bavington's paintings present us with a more accurate model of how art functions than that put forth by the F.C.C. Borrowing indiscriminately from late '60s high modernist abstraction, fashion chromatics and low-brow car culture, Bavington's exquisitely aribrushed images make this smart-aleck conflation look so terriffic that you forget where the images come from and focus on where they take you. Before his slick pictures, art is a ride for thrill-seekers from all walks of life. 

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