SIDE QUESTS @ the ella sharp museum
A solo exhibition of paintings by Timothy Gaewsky
March 16 - July 7, 2019
SIDE QUESTS: Paintings by Timothy Gaewsky
Side Quests are optional sections in a video game, commonly found in RPG or role-playing games, which deviate from the main storyline. One purpose for these smaller missions is to enhance the game experience by providing the player with further background to the settings their characters are in and a sense of discovery as new areas on the map are revealed. The paintings in Side Quests are Gaewsky's attempt to advance the map to an ever expanding world he's creating for himself. For Gaewsky, each painting operates as a proverbial screenshot of an area on the map where viewers, in essence, assume the role of the gaming character, exploring new areas as they move from painting to painting.
The exhibition consists of two interrelated series, Gaewsky's Homage series and Hybrid Landscapes. The Homage series of paintings consist of augmented visual elements from some of his favorite video games. In some paintings, he has chosen a certain stage of a game for its composition, color scheme or iconic resonance. Gaewsky's interested in reducing the dynamical visual information in a game down to a more minimal interpretation in the painting. All character sprites and graphic pixelations are eliminated from the compositions, resulting in a simplified, reductive painting aesthetic.
For the Hybrid Landscapes, his process involves playing an array of Nintendo NES and Super Nintendo games where he'll take screenshots of stages from different games, select various visual assets and make digital files using Photoshop. He then use Photoshop to layer the different assets to construct an amalgamated and modified game environment. This template is transferred onto the painting surface and becomes a point of departure, allowing for a transformative creative process to happen at the easel. While these new hybrid landscapes become settings for his own developing narratives, some visual elements may appear familiar and the original game source identifiable, inciting a quasi-nostalgic experience for those who might have enjoyed playing these games from that era.