Super Colliders is a series of paintings by Timothy Tompkins. The glossy enamel paintings on aluminum depict abstracted images of the internal components of the Large Hadron Collider, which lies in a tunnel seventeen miles in circumference deep beneath the Franco-Swiss border near Geneva, Switzerland. Tompkins’s otherworldly paintings reference the line and symmetry of Gothic rose windows of European cathedrals. Rose windows functioned as microcosmic depictions of universal order, where the uniform geometry of the subdivided circle denoted sacred unity. Similarly, the inherent harmony of structure of the Large Hadron Collider inspires modern curiosity and ruminations on the universal makeup of things, connecting perceived relationships between contemporary theories of physics with timeless concepts of the human condition and spirituality.
The inspirations for Tompkins’s paintings stem from his engagement with the tropes and language of the medium’s history. His interest in both the language of painting and contemporary theories of visual culture attract him to what he interprets in the images as a loose visual connection to painting’s history and the medium’s influence as a visual communicator. The paintings play upon the idea of revealing the unseen and invoke the notion of a disjunctive relationship between observation, representation, and interpretation.
Timothy Tompkins lives and works in Los Alamitos, California. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles, California, in 2003. His work is included in the collections of the Fondazione Benetton, Treviso, Italy; Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation, Los Angeles, California; West Collection, Oaks, Pennsylvania; and Harvard Business School, Cambridge, Massachusetts.