Tim Tadder prompts contemplation with “Barriers”

Artists create imagery to express an idea; to make a statement. The work is made more beautiful when it is left open to interpretation, prompting discussion. Tim Tadder created a series titled “Barriers,” prior to COVID-19 and sheltering in place, giving us a prime example of the colloquialism, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”

This collection is an apt representation of what Covid-19 & social distancing is requiring of each of us. What was the original intent of this project?

The world as we knew it has paused & perhaps inherently changed forever. Creativity is in crisis, along with everything else, but it’s how we pivot during a global pandemic that matters. Little did I know that ‘barriers’ would represent such a poignant series for the current unprecedented times on a global scale. Interestingly enough, this was the last shoot I did before the entire nightmare occurred, and we were all in lockdown. 

This series intended to explore barriers between two worlds. If you scratch beneath the surface, you’ll find a deeper perspective. The difference between the senses & perception of the world is at the core of this series. Below the surface, we have an additional ‘universe’ which is an obvious metaphor to looking at two sides of any situation. 

Our divided country and world, for that matter, have become very binary. This series examines the brave exploration of seeing things differently by going into someone else’s world. Once there, we might not like what we see, we might not like what we feel, & we might cross the line to reveal our true selves.

While this imagery isn’t in response to sheltering in place, what does this mean to you now?

We are in such a different world now for a myriad of reasons. Covid-19 has completely challenged and changed our daily existence. The injustice behind the George Floyd murder and the direct result in social unrest has truly created a level of uncertainty that I think many of these photos speak to. It’s hard to stay calm and collected during these pressing times. For me, my art is very much an expression of anxiety and that comes from pure uncertainty. 

We had a lot of uncertainty heading into the election process, and after Covid-19 and the George Floyd murder in Minneapolis, we are now more than ever in a surreal dystopian environment. These images capture our journey into the unknown. 

You create some of your work to start a conversation, to make people think, and to elicit a response. More broadly speaking, what does the notion of “Barriers” mean to you?

I seek to elicit a response, and the response to this series has been surreal. Barriers are divisions and lines in the sand. This series represents the division between cultures, races, and political parties. When someone puts up a barrier or the notion of a barrier, we are virtually always dividing. We have to face the music & create unity from these barriers. 

We love how this series seems to make a negative notion into something beautiful, artistic, and positive. Did you embark on this project with the thought that it could become an art collection?

Absolutely. I created a bold statement to illustrate the exploration behind the barriers. This series is colorful, unique, powerful, and allows the audience to extract something of their own from each piece. If I think about the art that I would want in my dream house, I see one of these pieces hanging on the walls of a modern home or office of a bold personality. I see this artwork for someone who is not afraid to blaze a trail and see things from another perspective or instill a new sense of calm in the destruction of the current times. 

Follow Tim on Instagram for more imagery that elicits a response.

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