In his series, “The Metaphysical Maps,” Helena artist Tim Holmes combines the precision aesthetics of antique maps with the looseness of abstract expressionist painting. The series is on display through Nov. 30 at Rocky Mountain Map Gallery, 1710 Brooks St. in Missoula. These detailed and seemingly accurate charts of internal experiences expose a messy reality that, despite our attempts at understanding, lends itself to nothing like precision.
“Certainly you, too, have felt like Magellan, setting sail upon those treacherous, unknown waters of an inner exploration,” writes the artist. “Instant satellite topographic imagery is no help to us here. Are we pioneering the frontiers beyond the reach of measure? Beyond the intelligence of measurement? How do we steer a course from mistrust to compassion? Where are the richest deposits of beauty in this life? What deadly shoals await us at the extremities of the passions?”
With titles like “Muse Culture,” “Safety in the Clear and Present Threat of Poetry” and “A Movement of Travail” Holmes navigates uncharted seas.
“The early geographic explorers had only the most crude, unreliable charts to go by, and sometimes – despite blantant biases – they even found their way. But any map, no matter how inaccurate, is still a diagram of possibilities,” writes the artist.
Some of the originals in this exhibition were displayed in St. Petersburg, Russia in the first ever exhibition of an American artist in the world’s largest art museum: the Hermitage. This exhibition is the first time the work has been exhibited as a whole; for more information visit rockymountainmaps.com. To learn more about the artist go to www.timholmesstudio.com.