Imago Hominis (The Image of Man), 1988
Timothy Ralph (1959-2010)
acrylic on linen
198 x 182cm
signed and dated lower middle right
Exhibited: Timothy Ralph, Australian Galleries, Melbourne, 20th June – 9th July 1988, Catalogue #5
0419 540 162
Timothy Ralph paints sophisticated complex paintings with extraordinary graphic skill and clarity of detail which are loaded with art-historical references and other pictorial asides. His work is a testament to the value of craftsmanship from the Old Masters tradition and traces of Goya and Breughel become apparent.
’Imago Hominis (The Image of Man)’ 1988 is an eclectic surreal painting which presents a central ‘figure’ within an enclosure or screen that protrudes from an eerie subterranean void. With limbs outstretched, the strange artificial figure balances above an Escher-esque patterned floor. Body segments overfilled with detail are held together by organic and inorganic means that allow the ‘body’ to perform its various tasks.
A skilful and imaginative painter, Ralph brings this work to life with his knowledge of Classicism, interest in surface pattern and the play of light and his use of symbolism. The title shows Ralph’s preoccupation with the larger philosophical questions, the mystery of life itself. There is a sense of passion as human weakness and folly are brought to bear. Shakespeare’s Hamlet readily comes to mind, with ‘What a piece of work is a man’.
Timothy Ralph was born in Perth. He studied painting in Sydney and fine art at RMIT in Melbourne graduating with distinction. He participated in various group shows in the eighties including The Best of Young Australians at the NGV in 1988. In 1985 he won the city of St Kilda Acquisitive art award and in 1986 he was awarded a Travel Grant by the Australia Council. He held his first solo exhibition in 1988 at Australian Galleries, Melbourne.
His work is represented at the National Gallery Canberra, the Art Gallery of NSW, Artbank, and the City of St Kilda.