A new series of paintings entitled Glance, on which I have been working for three years, essentially came about as extensions of thinking and reading about the phenomenology of visual experience and meditations on a visual which embraces ideas of presence and Being. all of the thinking that surrounds the particulars of the paintings has been informed by readings of Nietzsche Heidegger, Bergson, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty and Buddhist sutras as well as contemporary scholarly interpretations of these texts by writers such as David Michael Levin and Martin Jay.
Initially interested in Nietzsche’s use off the term augenblick (the blink of an eye), I became intrigued by the idea that each moment could be either an abyss or an opening or clearing. As vision and experience are intimately connected to Time, these thoughts, of course, logically related to readings of Heidegger and Bergson. Also of interest was Heidegger’s notion of the darkening of the world through enframing and this, as well as the idea of the augenblick, led to considerations of how naturally alive or present anyone might be at any moment. The Buddhist belief that most sentient brings experience only the illusory veils of ignorance and conceptual dualities that obscure true reality has also been a constant consideration in regard to these other musings.
In the black and white paintings which began this series, an anonymous figure, blackened to a silhouette, is caught stop-action in an obviously urban architectural environment. While there are bands of blurred grays, blacks and white in the backgrounds of the paintings, indicating motion, the figures are always painted flat in deep Mars black. It occurred to me after I began the paintings that although a frozen moment could be an abyss, the real abyss in these paintings was the black figure and, in the more successful of the paintings, the figure does give the visual illusion of a black hole. This furthered ideas of skotos (darkness) and scotoma (a blind spot) and my sustained interest in the actual production of the paintings was reduced to darkness and light, both technically and metaphorically, which seemed appropriate to painting
– Tim Nowlin