Tim Tate and Michael Janis each grew up as avid readers, each finding the imaginary world as often much more enticing, beautiful and adventurous as what they found around them.
Tim’s obsession’s were Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, Heinlein, poetry, short stories, novels, movies, science fiction, adventure, a wide spectrum of genres …. all the things that produced wonderous worlds and parallel universes and were filled with narratives so different from his own life. As a kid, Tim became a storyteller, imagining (or uncovering) hidden connections between ideas, events and experiences. He wrote his first poem at 7 and his first story at 8. He could take seemingly disparate things and find ways to bring them together to create new meanings. From those formative early days, the stories continued as Tim used glass as a sculptural medium. Tim even learned etching on glass, casting figures and video just so he could conjure new worlds.
As an architect, Michael Janis learned to communicate visually complex ideas about human experience both symbolically and figuratively, using the juxtaposition of unrelated elements in the utterly modernist mode of collage. His frit powder drawings of people evoke both self-knowledge and evasive maneuvering. Narrative is employed loosely here. Imagery gives form to the often incompatible mix of lived experience, personal histories, and the acting out of roles both obligatory and imagined. Rather than explicit tales, he tries to conjure a world that evokes the slipperiness of memory, longing, and a disquieting curiosity.
When Michael Janis and Tim Tate met, almost 20 years ago, they discovered a shared fascination of narrative sculpture- one that seeks to arrive at an image that is both unflinchingly candid in physical representation and psychologically evasive. Working together, they are interested in the simultaneous read of an immediately recognizable image that asks the viewer to linger over history and meanings that unfurl more slowly. Mark, line and material become an extension of touch in the act of representation. The relationship of hand to subject, negotiated through the material, can elicit a response of both visual and tactile.
With these confines they create work in many techniques, but if you stand slightly back and see their history a huge thread of interconnected stories weave through their work from day one. The beauty comes into focus and the viewer sees the edges of a world not dissimilar to this one, but so much more thoughtful.
They present this glimpse into that alternative world, seemingly unstuck in time somewhere between past and future.