For artist Tim Stark, a ride down the railroad is an opportunity to connect the past to the present. In 2009, he traveled from Seattle to Boston via Amtrak, finding the experience so transformative that he booked another cross-country trip from Los Angeles to New York City five years later.
86 hours of travel time from coast-to-coast on that latter journey culminates in where to wonder, where to wander, a collection of works that bring to life the mix of blurry and clear moments whirling through the countryside between each stop. The exhibit debuts with an opening reception from 6 to 10 p.m. on Friday, June 10 at MAINSITE Contemporary Art, 122 E. Main, Norman.
“The main inspiration behind this body of work is my cross country train rides,” Stark said. “The crossings are a unique chance for me to view, contemplate, document and be mindful of the land that I pass through, while being connected through a mode of transportation that is at once connected to America’s history and to its contemporary reality and identity.”
The view from the window is a natural complement to Stark’s approach, landscapes that mix the ethereal and concrete that celebrates movement with vivid colors, inspired by the likes of early American painters like Frederic Edwin Church, Thomas Cole, Thomas Moran and J. M. W. Turner, that incorporates visual abstraction from the photographic process, as well as themes such as “the sublime.”
“In my work, I seek out images that are elusive, compelling and that capture a sense of remembered,” Stark said of his approach. “These works draw on gathered memories, utilizing the visual language of photography to create an image, that, like memory itself, is abstracted, shifted and changed. Through the abstract and obscure, these images present a consideration of what is remembered and what it defines.”
Originally from Colorado, Tim now lives and works in Stillwater, Oklahoma. He received his MFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston/Tufts University and his BA from the University of Redlands.
Stark’s solo exhibition opens just weeks after the debut of Cultural Connections: Norman In Arezzo, which took his work to Arezzo, Italy as a part of a sister city art exchange. It runs through Friday, July 8, finishing with a closing reception that evening from 6 to 10 p.m. as part of the 2nd Friday Norman Art Walk taking place in The Historic Downtown Norman Arts District.
MAINSITE Contemporary Art is open daily from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. It is located at 122 E. Main, Norman, OK. The exhibit and its receptions are free and open to the public.
Here is the place to wonder and wander.
Here is the place to set out and ramble. The hills and valleys and the skyline peaks call to those who would cast their hopes along the ribbon highway. They shine and sink and offer a sight more visceral than visual.
Here is the history that seeped into the earth like blood. It is the identity that redefines the land and subsequently redefines itself.
Here the land stretches from sea to sea. It is a place found without being lost, a land of discovery and promise.
Here is the green across the water, the hope and terrible beauty. It is the vast and the limited. It is the connected and the disconnected.
Here is a place felt but not known.
Here is the great, the awe, and the wonder.
Here is our land. This land, for you and me.
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I completed the crossing on Sunday the 10th of August. After a total of nearly 86 hours of travel time I made it to New York City. It was an amazing and inspiring trip. Below are some photographs and videos from the crossing.
Here is the crossing in a nut shell. On August 5th I left leave Oklahoma and headed to Los Angeles, where the crossing began. On the 6th I boarded the eastbound Sunset Limited and took a 48 hour ride from LA to New Orleans. After a short stop over there I boarded the Crescent Line for a 30 hour ride through the south and up the eastern seaboard to New York City.