Language of the Heart  

- an exhibition exploring relationships and self-discovery

A great portrait is a picture of the model. A great artwork is a picture of the artist. If you are moved by an artwork it's because it is a picture of you!

Flesh Longs

The Flesh Longs, mixed media, from the Why Do We Have Bodies? series, which illuminates the mystical dimension of the flesh by combining holy texts with drawings of the nude.  Many historic religious mystics spoke of longing for the divine in very sensual terms. 

You Who Come Alive, mixed media

Will I Become Naked Enough?

The Magical Enlargement series stems from the experience of becoming aware of the presence of something greater than the person whose image I see before me as I draw the model, who then becomes larger than life.

Image is the Portal, ink & pencil

Art or Person, Person or Art?

"The human heart is a theatre of longing."  -John O'Donohue

A  portrait is a description of a particular person.  The works in this exhibition are not portraits although most of them are attempts to describe a person.  The question is: who?  Is it the model who sat for the drawings?  In some way, yes, but do the drawings describe more of the model or of the artist who created them?  If it is the latter then they are largely self portraits.  But how could that be said about a male artist when most of the figures depicted are women?

When you look at these drawings you see simultaneously a picture of the person who sat for it and an image of my soul.  This is exactly what I saw take shape on the paper, leaving me with the question: who is this?  I think we can say the same about any relationship: there is more here than meets the eye.

Good artworks have more than one meaning.  I believe that artworks are like people and in some ways people are like art, in that our relationships yeild multiple levels of meaning.  To me, this is what these works reveal.  You can look at these drawings and see that they are mostly nudes.  But you are also confronted by a confusion of relations, which appears written on the very image as it enters your awareness.  In this dialog who is speaking to whom? 

Challenge, mixed media, 18 x 24 inches, from the Magical Enlargement series. 

In the Gospel of Thomas (which is not in the Bible) Jesus says “If you birth what is within you, it will save you. If you do not birth it, it will destroy you.”   Nineteen centuries later Carl Jung, one of the architects of modern psychology said the same thing in scientific language, a tongue that many today find easier to understand.  And using poetic language, John O'Donohue says “The human heart is a theater of longing.”  To me these three mystics reveal one of the great secrets of life: that each of us holds inside of us the keys to everything. 

What I am trying to do with this exhibition is to make that mystery a little more visible in an area where all of us traffic daily: that is in relationships.  To that end, I am viewing a relationship (in this case artist and model) as theater– a laboratory of discovery– using the most common relationship as a metaphor: that between a man and a woman.               

Metaphysical Map

The Veil'd Realm of Sex, mixed media, 28 x 36 from the Metaphysical Maps


  The Metaphysical Maps series lays out seemingly accurate and precise charts of internal experiences (that in messy reality lend themselves to nothing like precision!), combining the aesthetics of antique maps with the looseness of abstract expressionist painting.

View others in the Metaphysical Maps series

Whose Desire Turns, ink

The female figure is partly a portrait of my own soul, a feminine entity.

Primary Refection, pencil & inks,
from Active Modeling, which  is a technique I've developed of using the model to illuminate parts of my own unconscious that are otherwise hidden, driving a creative search into the wilderness of my own numinous unconscious.

, oil on canvas

Dilluded, pastel & ink

from the Speaking Gaze series, which is a dialog about who is whom, involving artist, model and viewer.


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Paintings and Drawings

"Sculptures by Tim Holmes deserve being displayed in the best museums of the world." -- Mikhail Piotrovsky, Hermitage Director

Creative  Commons  Copyright  •  2011  •  Tim Holmes Studio