1111Tim Cantor's Art: A Study of The Four Seasons
The music, the strings, they chant like a ghost – cross liquid, cross bridges, in Venice with hope. Venice, Italy – Its history. Its quarrels. Its clash between tradition and exploitation. Its contrast. A city viral with opinion, yet unquestionably one of the most unique inceptions mankind has to offer, and a place of both task and reason for Tim Cantor. This inscrutable city has drawn him in, yearly, consistently, with a devout purpose and an evermore intrinsical love. He has found his place here, his haven, detangling the Venetian chaos as he waits for the sun to go down and the streets to clear out. He waits for the canals to smooth way, ungather, and shimmer less mayhem. He waits for the parcels of night, for the glassy black waters to mirror more history, speak with more voice. He waits. He waits. The darkness now echoes the slowed pulse of a thousand year soul. This, for the artist, is the love. As well, this is the catalyst, the motive, and the maker of one of Tim Cantor’s most finely spun paintings, The Four Seasons. But before we begin to study this soulful painting, let’s take a moment to explore the purpose. Tim’s purpose. His personal rationale to visit Venice once a year for decades. It goes without saying that the city in itself is a masterpiece of structure and time; and too, this city is filled with historical works of art that intensely motivate Tim Cantor. Paintings, sculpture, architecture that pass onto him an assurance that his ceaseless hours, his years and lifetime of fervid dedication, are relevant and worthy of his unending efforts, even in the bedlam of a modern art world. With that said, by definition Tim Cantor is, in fact, a modern artist. He lives now. His subject matter and themes are novel, imaginative, and progressive. However, his heart is drawn to the refinement of historical paintings; a refinement he summons with all his capacity into his own creations. Tim seeks nothing contemporary to dishearten his spirits in Venice. Nothing simple, quick, nor contrived by ego. Nothing needful of repute, nor crucial of explanation to find its value. Here, in Venice, he finds the unspoiled works of Titian, Raphael, Del Piombo, DaVinci, Bellini. Venice holds the vastness of the works of Veronese and Tiepolo. It holds the almost incomprehensible enormity of Tintoretto. The Venice that Tim walks is the one that haunts through 500 years of change, growing more powerful and rare with each passing chapter and phase and tendency of time; the Venice Tim knows spellbinds him through ages and inspires him with levels of workmanship that is ever so toilsome and rare in this present day culture. If the artistic inspiration alone were not enough, Tim likewise travels to Venice in search of distinct frames that surround many of his original paintings. These frames, carved from single pieces of wood, are burned, aged and gilded in the same loyal procedure for centuries upon centuries. These venerable frames further add to his commitment of creating paintings that hold to the highest level he knows. This brings us back to the Cantor painting in point, for rightly, one of these rare frames surrounds The Four Seasons; a composition rich with sentiment that bleeds of Venice with every stroke and line. Riddled with a helix if inherent feelings from the artist, The Four Seasons radiates memories, experiences, the recollections of loved ones both passed and alive; and moreover, the inexplicable thoughts that one’s surroundings can bring. More specifically, the painting reflects Tim Cantor’s fleeting, wandering mind in a most personal moment. Regardless, because the painting captures Tim’s reality intertwined with a storm of emotions, reveries, and random thoughts, it remains difficult to interpret, both for us as the viewer, and for the artist himself. It’s origin, however, is clear. It begins in the midst of San Vidal, a former church in the backstreets of Venice. Originally constructed in the year 1084, this haunting cathedral houses some little known works that have heavily influenced specific paintings that Tim Cantor has created. It also serves as a small yet dramatic stage for, arguably, one of the most perfect performances of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons that one could find in the world. It is here that Tim visits recurrently, in the squeaking low chairs, still and shy and nervous to shift. Watching. Knowing this site will make his skull start to toil, his thoughts design and scheme. He sits. He drifts. The music, the strings, they chant like a ghost; and an artist’s mind begins to wander. As we observe Tim’s painting and writing in its entirety, subject by subject, word by word, we stand to spy on a virtual timeline of his wistful contemplation. We see through his eyes, feel his nature in the moment, gazing at the stones on the floor. We follow his eyes upwards, past the ground surface, past the players and past their violins to the haunt of luster that casts onto a statue, looming half-it, behind the stage. A statute that mesmerizes him. This statute; we see it now, we see it, and we are entranced. Sculpted in the sixteenth century, barely is known of its derivation. It is uncelebrated, it is anonymous. Nonetheless, this statute now poses for Tim Cantor’s ghostly wayward thoughts. She twists and stares. She puts ideas and memories into his transfixed mentality. He sees her alive, flushed with pinks and the flesh of a blood-beating heart. He sees innocence. Innocence; perhaps the defining word to which we might place upon Tim Cantor’s The Four Seasons. For, within that nameless figure, he is impelled to see innocence. Could it be the veil, the look on her face, the nature of her pose? Could it be the surroundings, or the atmosphere and manner of an audience who attends a violin concert? Perhaps it is the intent musicians, focused solely on their craft? Whatever the cause may be, whatever the truth or history might be, ‘innocence’ is what Tim sees. Sparked from this perspective, more thoughts arrive. Innocence now makes way as Tim thinks of his two gold canaries. Pets from previous years, painted as black birds in the twist of this thoughts. Both died, long ago, but still hold a touch of sentiment. Yet sentiment; it snowballs. It grabs at what’s near. It laches onto memories of his pets, levied by time, yet painted as Gaia, a friend’s cat that he was artfully infatuated with. The sentiment rolls on, his eyes press tight, his thoughts, they irksomely burn. He thinks of his aunt, his grandmother, his friend Rachel; all whose loss affected him profoundly. Fear and love bound as one. He thinks of them as he knew them. His mind drifts off and imagines them as children. Innocent children. Innocent little sparks as we all once were. The Four Seasons is indeed a product of Tim Cantor’s unique way of thought. But it could be said that it is equally a product of time. As we have deciphered this painting, we have drawn its blood and discerned its DNA. Likely, there is so much more, yet if we have only scratched into a fraction of the deeds of its origin, we have already discovered that for this painting to exist, as it does, there must be a Venice, Italy. There must be a 600 year-old statue in the midst of a 1000 year-old church with a floor made of stone. We must have Vivaldi and his music and passionate musicians to play it loyal and powerful. We must have historical works of art that inspire. Above all, we must have a mind that respects it all, loves it true, uses it, treats it, and takes it into his soul and merges it into his memories and emotions; and writes of its being: I see that lives I still love; The lives, the strings, the hearts of the past that dark Venice brings.
In the end, the music and the strings that chant like a ghost have put a vision into Tim Cantor’s mind. One that he relates to personally. In sadness. In reflection. And although The Four Seasons is not a joyful painting, there is nothing but positively in it. It could be said for all of us, for everything in existence, that each and every previous event creates our current moment. Unpredictable as it may be, he has captured all its march of events. Painted it as a scene: A girl. Two birds. A cat. And as stones on a floor. He has painted it, as only he can do, and told us why.