An artist with a unique and personal approach to his work, Tim Linn explored the unlimited potential of his chosen media, in the fabrication of painting and its boundaries, often pushing himself to find something new and unexplored In the process. His work in fact speaks volumes about his experimental use of materials, media and surface, to investigate and experiment with the potential of a dialogue between two and three dimensions, in particular, the relationship between painted space and shallow relief, joining object and image into a dynamic dialogue.
Linn pursued both his undergraduate and graduate degrees at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and was clearly influenced by the architecture of the “Chicago School”. The inventive, geometric facades of buildings designed by Louis Sullivan, Frank Lloyd Wright and Mies van der Rohe, for example, were an early influence on his artwork. Linn’s experiments with surface and space began early in his artistic endeavors, particularly with the surface and materials that he would use to make his work, in an attempt to step away from any self-limitation that define painted and 3-dimensional space. Throughout his artistic career, Linn explored the potential of a wide variety of surfaces and materials, including carved wood, Styrofoam, cardboard and folded paper, collaging these materials as elements to a spatial and 3-dimensional composition. His fabricated, multimedia work has a spontaneity and directness that is at once both instinctual and logical, as if they were, of necessity, interdependent. This continual experimentation with materials and shapes resulted in an extended series of wall pieces that defy categorization, challenging the viewer to explore the connections between form, space and color. Linn’s large, two sided vertical works on paper, framed to be viewed from both sides, also expects or requires the viewer to explore the “content” and structure of the work, requiring their participation in it’s realization. As one experiment with form and content led to one or a series of others, Linn trusted to his instincts and experience to guide his realization of the work, often surprising himself in the resulting work.
Experimentation continued with the works from the early to mid 2000’s, from the painted vertical wall assemblages that resemble abstracted Oceanic totems, to the carved wood block (2005) that is both an homage to Brancusi and a freestanding, geometric icon. Linn’s recent works have a formal clarity that also maintains the handmade freshness of the artist’s earlier graphic/sculptural works. There is a youthful indulgence, a playful humor emanating from works on paper that have left and right panels, seemingly mirrored, but with subtle variations, and a long minimalist work of black lines that is reminiscent of Bob Rauschenberg and John Cage making their tire track impressions.
"However, the overtly simple composition of his works on paper often conceals the sophistication of Linn’s process. Both minimalist and formal, they are nonetheless deeply rooted in experiment and improvisation. In the large two-sided gouaches on paper, Linn fashioned the ultimate enigma; a work of art that requires the viewer to interact with it, only to realize that it can only be fully experienced with our participation, as we interact with it, and the artist, in a visual dance." Robert G. Edelman, Painterly Geometrics, Heskin Contemporary, 2011