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Tim Portlock

Tim Portlock’s current work combines special effects software and the visual conventions of 19th-century American painting to creatively simulate real-world American cityscapes. In recent years, his large format print images have depicted imagined landscapes populated with the empty buildings that surround his home in Philadelphia as well as developments in post-boom and bust Las Vegas. Other work utilizes large outdoor video projections onto buildings, creating temporary public art that incorporates new media and the visual language of murals while engaging with architecture and city space. Portlock comes to the Sam Fox School from Hunter College, CUNY, where he taught courses in emerging media as an associate professor in the Department of Film & Media Studies. In previous work in the Anglophone studies department at l’Université Paris-Sorbonne (Paris IV), he served as a creative and technical director on a number of projects—including “Virtual Montmarte” and “Virtual Sorbonne"—that utilized interactive 3D computer game technology to simulate spaces deemed to be historically significant. He received a Pew Fellowship in the Arts in 2011 and won a Festival of Murals Prize to commemorate the 1,000-year anniversary of Gdańsk, Poland.

Recent exhibitions include Ruffneck Constructivists at the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania, curated by Kara Walker and organized by Whitney Biennial 2014 curator Anthony Elms; the 2014 Visiting Curator Exhibition at The Center for Emerging Visual Artists, curated by Cecilia Alemani, the Donald R. Mullen, Jr. Curator and director of High Line Art; and SPRING/BREAK Art Show, curated by Complex Magazine art critics Leigh Silver and Ellie Clark. Portlock also exhibited at PULSE New York, represented by the West Collection (2013); Broadstone Studios in Dublin as part of Photo Ireland (2012); the Tate Modern as a member of the artist collective Vox Populi (2011); Christie’s London, represented by Philagrafika (2012); the International Guerrilla Video Festival in Dublin (2009); and This is Not a Gateway, a group exhibition of outdoor video projections in London (2009). Prior to this period, Portlock exhibited at the 404 Festival for digital art in Argentina and Italy, ISEA Japan, and Ars Electronica in Austria, where his work is part of the permanent collection. Portlock has been an artist in residence at Victoria University of Wellington (New Zealand), 18th Street Arts Center (Santa Monica), the International Center of Photography (New York), and the Abrons Arts Center (New York).

Work by Tim Portlock

A construction site at sunset: the scaffolding in the distance is covered with reflective sheets that distort the blue sky strewn with golden-white clouds. The sun shines on a staircase that stands alone in the center of the site; the surrounding temporary fencing is blue, with the words "Transformation" and "INNOVATION" printed above large images of architectural renderings of the building complex.

innovation, 2020

Archival pigment print. 43.25 x 55.75.
A shot of two adjacent buildings from an elevated aerial perspective: the one on the left is dilapidated, whereas the one to the right towers above with a rooftop garden/landscape of an arched stone structure and a shallow pool surrounded by greenery and a willow tree. The building to the right appears to be made entirely of glass, reflecting the golden-blue sunset. In the background, the land is dusty, a spread-out construction site complete with cranes and tractors.

just steps away, 2020

Archival pigment print. 43.25 x 58.
A construction site: several buildings in various stages of disrepair are scattered around a cluster of buildings in the foreground to the left, which are distinctly vibrant, reflecting the clouded blue sky. These buildings have various geometric sculptures (some in marble, others a bright red) on their rooftops — atop one of which is perched a modern house.

sundrenched, 2020

Archival pigment print. 58 x 43.25.
Glinting glass and metal skyscrapers tower above, surrounding a construction site with a heap of junk and scrap materials in the foreground. In the distance the Vessel (of Hudson Yards) is visible, reflecting the golden-slate sunset.

soaring and idyllic, 2020

Archival pigment print. 43.25 x 58.
Elevated aerial perspective of a building, surrounded by many others: oxen graze on its rooftop gardens, shaded by tall trees. The façades of the buildings glimmer, reflecting the glow of the sunset.

unrivaled proportions, 2020

Archival pigment print. 43.25 x 64.25.
A cityscape bathed in bright light: a swirl of (what appears to be) wooden strips (/some light-hued building material) circles the sky, floating above the scaffolds in the foreground. An intersection stretches across the land below, leading to more skyscrapers in the distance.

prequalified, 2020

Archival pigment print. 43.25 x 57.25.
Buildings in various stages of construction surround a construction site/junkyard; in the distance to the center is an entire wall of a building that stands alone next to a crane, illuminated by the glow of the sunset; closer is a tree atop jagged rock. The sky is overcast ahead, gray clouds swarming about, enveloping the sky whole.

sundrenched, 2020

Archival pigment print. 58 x 43.25.