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Statements (through the years)


Leif Timber

Statement on Abstract Work (2015)


My abstract work has a deep genesis in the psychological and emotional tumult of my early adult life and work. After my mental breakdown at the age of 19, I began using painting as an emotional release, a way to express what I was thinking and feeling without having the requisite vocabulary to articulate what I was experiencing. Since the middle of 2014, I have begun to give many of my finished paintings an entirely abstract outcome. Previously, most of my paintings were semi-abstract, impressionistic representations of the female form (actual figures or metaphors through birds or flowers.) As the pinnacle of beauty, the female figure provided a foundation for the expression of my tormented mind. The disconnectedness, the isolation, the fear, and the despair became marks on the canvas surrounding this beautiful ideal.


I have spoken of my paintings as psychological self-portraits, but I did not feel there was a true communication of this message until I was able to separate the emotional mark-making from its attachment to the female figure. I still use the figure as a basic element in that I still begin most of my paintings with a rendering of the female form. But by the time I am finished with the painting, I have allowed myself to eliminate all awareness of that fact through building up marks and adding and subtracting paint to cover it up. Once the figure is in place, I use turpentine to take away and I add extra paint while the turpentine is dissolving previous layers. I mostly use pallet knives and scrapers to make marks and move paint on the surface, creating a buildup of texture through addition and subtraction.


Every mark is intentional, but the finished painting is an organic process that develops through the course of painting. There comes a point when every painting is finished. If the mixing of paint becomes too muddy, I have to stop, and in this case a painting is usually not finished. When that layer is dry, I will go back over it until it reaches an acceptable outcome. Sometimes I will stop painting because I think the painting is finished, but the next day I will look at it and realize it was not. Other times it will present itself as a finished painting as soon as I stop attacking it and will remain so.




Leif Timber

Statement on Work (circa 2011)


            I have an endless fascination with the female form. It is something I will probably continue to depict throughout my life as an artist, and for me its innate beauty is unrivaled. I began drawing nudes when I was a young adult -- more honestly as an adolescent sneaking magazines to study the figure with a pencil and a pad of paper.

            The live model was never something that inspired me, so going back to source material from photographs and other painters' works after school (and even during) felt natural. There is a certain solitude that working without models allows, which for me is the freedom to work without any fears or insecurities. If I feel I have failed in making a work of art, there is no one expectantly waiting to see what I have created. So I have no one to disappoint but myself, which is easy enough to live with.

            The female form is not my only subject, but other than some of my portraits and architectural paintings, it informs and guides the vast majority of my work. I treat my birds and flowers the same way I treat my nudes, and perhaps subconsciously they are derivatives of the nudes. I want my images to be strong and erect -- with a certain sense of power in each subject.

            The image of power is a beacon. In chaos you must seek a steady pillar on which you can build a foundation. Through the formative chaos of my life, artistic expression has been the pillar on which I have anchored my ship.

            The powerful female archetype is something I believe in. I have always been surrounded by strong, independent women. The three most important women in my life fit this archetype, and as much as possible I attempt to portray their impact on me in my work.





Leif Timber

Statement on Nudes (circa 2009)


In making artwork a part of myself, and in making that art reflect who I am, I have gone through many questions about what my senses of art and self are and should be. What makes me who I am? What do I value? What is my complexion? What drives me as a human being? These are the essential questions which I answer for myself through art. My artwork describes desire, beauty, love restrained by fear, anger, anxiety, aggression. These are the dominant forces that inhabit my psyche.


As man I find beauty in the female figure. But along with desire, it invokes an uncertainty, a foreignness that brings fear and all of its inherent reactions. These conflicting emotions are who I am. And they are manifest in my work. I've struggled with the seemingly single-mindedness of my work, but I can't get away from the fact that these are the thoughts and feelings that drive me through a life which seems to lack purpose.


Through my artwork, I am able to give meaning to the basic instinctual processes that course through the passages in my body and mind. My artwork is a reflection of my sense of self, hindered by psychological malfunction. The canvas or the page becomes this part of me.