Tim Bavington Brings Music to Life in his Vivid Rock ’n’ Roll Paintings

Tim Bavington left the gray skies of London for the bright lights of Las Vegas, where he has lived the past 20 years. His mind was blown that first visit to the neon desert pleasure center. His rock ’n’ roll reverberations—in painted form—recently electrified the walls of Scott Richards Contemporary Art in San Francisco for a solo show called “Feedback.”

His abstract paintings loosely align with op art, though the neon glow and glitter of Las Vegas also feed into his work. So does music: Each of his pulsating, brightly colored paintings is based on music made by artists ranging from Jimi Hendrix to the Rolling Stones.

Using a self-devised system, Bavington assigns notes and sounds to colors by aligning the 12 notes of the musical scale with 12 tones from the color wheel. Each band and every swirl of color in his paintings directly corresponds to the notes of songs that inspire him. He uses synthetic polymer paint and airbrushes to produce vivid paintings that capture the energy of rock ’n’ roll—essentially making the music visible.

Among the large-scale paintings on view at Scott Richards was the eye-catching Quadrophenia (Sonik) (2013). Dominating hues of red and orange mix with glowing stripes of white, green, blue, and purple, which come together to form a hypnotizing vortex that pulls the eye into its center.

The skewed canvas of Voodoo Child (Slight Return) (2008) is covered edge to edge with vertical stripes in colors ranging from orange and pink to deep brown. The colors match the rhythms of Hendrix’s original song, making manifest the sounds of a guitar god.



Karen Kedmey



Tim Bavington: Feedback” was on view at Scott Richards Contemporary Art, San Francisco, Mar. 3–26, 2016.


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