Tim Buwalda: The Body Shop
“There is a pureness and rawness to the body shops of the past decade that I certainly romanticize from growing up around them and looking up to particular people who work there.”
Timothy Buwalda's “The Body Shop” transports viewers to an imagined place of Americana, fast cars, honest work and borne freedom. There are no glitches in his ambitious installation, which cozied alongside the train tracks of Little River Miami, reflects the authenticity of a 1980s car garage. Every nut, bolt and hotrod calendar is rife with meaning, having been collected over the past year in anticipation of this exhibition. Further, Buwalda has curated an environment where his signature hyperrealist paintings of crushed and demolished automobiles are uncannily both in context at a garage, and incongruous outside of the gallery setting.
In looking at the transition from Buwalda’s previous work, which focused on paintings of broken cars and their parts in fine arts spaces, this foray into a stand-alone installation has shifted his role from narrator to author/stage manager/builder/producer; and by extension, the audience’s gaze from onlooker to active participant. This transformation is perhaps most literally embodied in Buwalda’s mechanic coveralls that he wears to greet visitors at The Body Shop. As if inviting us to be part of his fantasy, the artist explains how he’s more interested by what the car represents than what it is: “This notion that we can salvage a dream or create one is a powerful symbol for our cultural philosophy.”
The intersection between man and machine; the tension between demolition and creation; and the idea that we can make things that have been wrecked whole again are all central to Buwalda’s fascination with the rituals of automobiles. He quotes Dostoevsky, “Right or wrong, it’s very pleasant to break something from time to time.”
Schedule a private visit to view “The Body Shop” on the artists website: www.timbuwalda.com, the exhibit is located at 7325 North Miami Avenue.
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