Tim Portlock

2011 Pew Fellow

1/7: Tim Portlock, 2011 Pew Fellow. Photo by Colin Lenton.
2/7: Tim Portlock, Ghost City #22, 2011. Photo courtesy of the artist.
3/7: Tim Portlock, Ghost City #23, 2011. Photo courtesy of the artist.
4/7: Tim Portlock, Ghost City #14, 2010. Photo courtesy of the artist.
5/7: Tim Portlock, Ghost City #1, 2010. Photo courtesy of the artist.
6/7: Tim Portlock, Ghost City #13, 2010. Photo courtesy of the artist.
7/7: Tim Portlock, Ghost City #13 (detail), 2010. Photo courtesy of the artist.

“The notion of the city as a dynamic, and inherently equitable setting, is central to my work.”

Originally trained as a muralist, Tim Portlock (b. 1969) began experimenting with digital media platforms in the late ’90s. He has since mastered a variety of tools, from gaming software to 3-D animation, and he has used them to make art that investigates the social and economic impact of America’s rapid de-industrialization. “I endeavor to create work that is visually unsettling and that does not fall neatly in one or even two media or visual disciplines,” says Portlock. He creates haunting, post-apocalyptic urban landscapes, often seen from an aerial perspective—depictions of worlds in which industrial culture has come and gone, leaving certain classes and communities blighted in its wake. “In preparation for much of my work, I speak with experts in economics, urban planning, and sociology. My lifelong artistic interest [is] the dialogue between place, cultural vocabularies, and the formation of identity.”

A former member of the artist collective Vox Populi and a professor at Hunter College of the City University of New York, Portlock’s works have been shown around the world, including solo and group exhibitions at the Tate Modern, London; Los Angeles Center for Digital Art; the Ars Electronica Museum, Linz, Austria; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL. Portlock was in residence at 18th Street Arts Center in Santa Monica, CA in June 2012 with support from the Center. Philadelphia’s Fleisher Art Memorial held a solo exhibition of Portlock’s work in 2012, and in 2013, his work was featured at the Pulse Art Fair in New York, NY.


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