Tim Sterling is a Melbourne-based artist who works with installation art, sculpture and drawing. His works explore ideas of psychological unease created through the design of urban spaces.
Tim Sterling’s sculptures loosely represent a portal and a barrier. Both sculptures relate to movement: one hampers it while the other precipitates it. As a portal, B.E.L.T. creates a dynamic relation between the sculpture and the body of the viewer who is tempted to imagine moving through it. Vanishing Point, an irregular fragment of wall that protrudes across the gallery space, blocking the viewer’s egress, seems to have an immobilising effect. Yet this is opposed by a counter-tension within the work. Each individual module takes the form of a spool or spindle and they appear to be held together by elastic cord, a material held under tension that comes with the risk of breakage. The knots could unravel and the spindles would spill. First shown in an exhibition called Platzangst, the German name for agoraphobia, B.E.L.T. and Vanishing Point are described by Sterling as being trapped between two states—anchored to the ground while simultaneously being caught up in movement. The ideal viewer for Sterling’s sculptures will sense themselves overwhelmed by the material or the environment. The agoraphobia the artist is referencing relates to spaces that feel so open, infinite and limitless that they represent risk. They leave the human subject bereft of a physical and psychological anchor. But claustrophobia is referenced too: the heaping up of undifferentiated details that threaten to swamp the viewer.
Christine Toussainte Morrow