Tinker’s ‘Yard’ comes inside

Jan 16, 2013
Norman Tinker

Belfast — On Thursday, Jan. 24, downtown Belfast’s Perimeter Gallery will open “Tinker: Pieces from the Yard,” an exhibition of large-scale abstract sculpture fabricated from scrap metal by Belfast artist Norman Tinker. There will be a reception to meet the artist that evening from 6 to 8 p.m. including music by Waste Management, kindred spirits who perform experimental pieces using instruments they have constructed from found materials.

Anyone who has traveled down Miller Street in Belfast cannot help but notice the yard inhabited by dozens of scrap metal sculptures.  Human in scale or larger, and constructed from all manner of cast off metal — recognizable bits of cars, bicycles, appliances, tools, signs, fencing, fasteners — they appear to be a congregation of lively and otherworldly creatures.

“There are times I feel as though I’m creating beings from obscure dreams or the kind of creature or feeling one is afraid of finding as a child going into a dark cellar,” Tinker said of his work. “It is rare that I set out to create beauty although sometimes that happens.”

Beautiful or threatening, and generally infused with wit, Tinker’s abstract sculptures are exercises in finding compositional relationships through the combination of an endless variety of shape, surface and color to be had in material that has been crushed, rusted and mangled by forces both violent and gradual.  His end goal is to “reach a point where it has rhythm, a sense of movement, tense energy, a life of its own.”

Tinker has been making art for more than 60 years. After a career in teaching art, he had a welding business for 22 years. When he moved to Maine in 1996, he was able to re-focus on his art practice and began producing work with cast-off materials, primarily metal. This later work has been exhibited throughout Maine, including at the Center for Maine Contemporary Art and, most recently, upon turning 80, in a retrospective at Betts Gallery that included drawings, assemblages and smaller sculptures.

A selection of large sculptures, “pieces from the yard” viewed in passing by many, will be brought indoors for a closer look at Perimeter Gallery through March 10. The gallery is located in Chase’s Daily, 96 Main St. Hours are Tuesdays through Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information, call 338-0555.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115 or dernest@courierpublicationsllc.com.

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