Most of us can’t imagine what life confined to a small cell for seven years must feel like – only the mind able to run free. Timothy once told me that a prison psychiatrist had to evaluate his intelligence and to do so subjected him to a Rorschach test. Timothy not only allowed his imagination to run wild and free while looking at the abstract inkblot marks, he also recognized a formal affinity with his signature style of faces from his days on the streets of Philadelphia.
What began during a time of incarceration became not only an obsession with the psychological test itself, but also a gateway into learning to see anew and differently. Fascinated by the history of the test in psychoanalysis and its dubious application within the criminal justice system, Timothy began creating inkblots of his own, subverting the typical Rorschach test by using the test’s intentionally abstract forms to depict recognizable faces.
Joining a rich lineage of artists who have explored inkblots as a form of artistic production, including Francis Picabia and Andy Warhol, Timothy views the inkblot as an ever-evolving source of inspiration for new styles to represent his expanding kaleidoscope of emotions, sentiments, and figures. These new ideas have taken hold and demand their place in his artistic production every day – incorporated in his paintings of figures on bikes, another nod to his past, his life, and his friends’ lives.
Thus, it all comes full circle: Timothy’s life and work is in every single one of his paintings and every single one of his paintings is his life – they are interdependently intertwined. The Cat’s Cradle wraps up an exploration he began a long time ago, first in an office, later in his cell, brought it into his studio and out into the world in his exhibition in Berlin, Germany and at the Armory Show in New York last year. I know – because I had the pleasure of seeing him grow as a person and an artist for the past 3.5 years. This exhibition invites new insight into where his journey goes next, and we are all invited to be part of it.