In Tim Kent’s paintings, the acceptance of manifest destiny, the westward expansion of settlers across the United States, has now seeped into all aspects of consumerism. Kent is not interested in depictions of our mundane objects of consumption. These fade in the face of our contemporary landscape of consumption. Themes such as population displacement, hydro-engineering and mining with its subsequent refuse are key interests in Kent’s current work.
By inverting the latin term ‘terra firma’, Kent introduces viewers to a world where the solid earth is in fact porous. We presume earth’s immutable presence, as if it were a macro-level stable system, but Kent’s paintings doubt such convictions. The very objects which we think of as solid and unchanging are now violated and restructured. Symbols such as mountains, which traditionally represent themes of spirituality or constancy, are undermined in representations of major engineering projects of the 20th century such as the Hoover Dam, or more recent invasive mining for precious metals used in computers, mobile phones, and batteries for all our devices.