I am interested in how social identities are inscribed into particular spaces and how individuals inhabit, navigate and negotiate these geographies. My work is especially informed by urban space and how these places often complicate notions of identity. As a synthesis of traditional media and new technology, I use photography, the vocabulary of painting and special effects software to create large format prints of computer generated cityscapes. In “Ghost City”, I photograph abandoned buildings within a 20-block radius of my home. Using 3D animation/special effects software, I create digital simulations of these structures, developing them into virtual cities of abandoned buildings. These digital images play off of the conventions of pre-industrial American landscape painting to describe some of the changes that have occurred in American urban spaces as a result of deindustrialization. The crisis that these changes have brought to established notions of community and the cultural vocabularies used to navigate the physical and cultural aspects of urban geographies is a central theme throughout my work.
Tim Portlock was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1969, which at the time was one of the more segregated major cities in the country. This experience informed Portlock’s lifelong interest in the dialogue between place and the formation of identity. He received his BFA at Kansas City Art Institute and his MFA at the University of Chicago in 2003. Portlock earned a second MFA in Electronic Visualization from the University of Illinois and also worked as a community-based muralist and a studio painter. Portlock is presently an Assistant Professor in the Film and Media Studies Department at Hunter College in New York City, where he teaches 3D Animation and 3D Game Modification. His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally at Moore College of Art (Philadelphia, PA), Tennessee State University (Nashville, TN), the Tate Modern (London, UK), California Museum of Photography (Riverside, CA), Vizivarosi Gallery (Budapest, Hungary) and the Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago, IL), among others. Other recent projects have been screened or exhibited at the This is Not a Gateway Festival (London, UK), International Guerrilla Video Festival (Dublin, Ireland) and the Philadelphia Fringe Festival. Portlock has work in the permanent collection at Ars Electronica (Linz, Austria).
Tim Portlock was an artist in residence at CPW in 2008.