Song #1 and Song #2 (2016) by Timothy Cummings, acrylic on canvas (30.5 x 23 cm)
Timothy Cummings paints in a specific style influenced by naïvism. What captured my eye is the way the artist paints the facial features of the subjects. All of them resemble the artist and hence each other, especially their wide eyes, eyebrows, and cheekbones.
I occasionally notice this - the artist is most familiar with his or her own face and due to this or due to slightly egocentric desire attributes his features to his subjects. However, with Cummings I feel as if the artist is strongly relating to the subjects on the paintings - the artist is the dark-skinned kid, the artist is the blonde-haired kid, the artist is the queen in a marvellous costume. I read it as a message that we are all the same - the message of oneness of humankind. This, in turn, is accented by sadness and occasional fear in the eyes of the subjects, because there is not enough understanding of that oneness. I find it fascinating that the artist is able to look at the world through all these various characters across gender and ethnicity.
Perhaps people who do not strongly identify with a certain (gender) role are in a way more flexible to see the world through others. At the same time, perhaps the artist is in search of identity through all these characters who have the same eyes.
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