Tim Roda


Press release


Galerie Michael Janssen, Berlin
September 18 – October 31, 2009
Opening: Friday, September 18, 2009, 7-9 pm


Tim Roda has something that many emerging artists don’t – three boys under the age of 11 and a burgeoning marriage.  And, because he has made them the content of his theatrically staged photographs for more than half a decade, Roda’s work is also something of an anomaly.  It deals with content we don’t see much of in contemporary art – the familial.  Rejecting the banality popular in contemporary photography, Roda features his wife and young boys throughout his black-and-white prints so that the relationships between father and son, wife and husband, mother and child are central to each composition. 

But the Pennsylvania native uses more than his immediate family for inspiration.  The reticently slanted domesticity we see in every one of the 35mm images combines make-believe memories from the artist’s own childhood, as well as autobiographical moments from the present and shared histories from his extended family’s past. The photographs are balancing acts between documentary and falsity; family portraits of multiple generations becoming complicit within Roda’s own; documents of a family memorializing what was while also playing with what is. And, as such, Roda’s art directly meddles in his life, while his life intervenes in his art.

A sense of yearning as paired with a dreamlike playfulness – evident in homemade costuming and exaggerated narratives – is consistent throughout Roda’s oeuvre and makes each vignette a timeless, virtual reality that is part memory, part history, part real-time record of lives as they are unfolding. 

No more is this better evidenced than in his latest body of work, which comes on the heels of a Fulbright Scholarship in Italy – and will debut this fall at Roda’s galleries in New York City, Seattle and Berlin – where Roda investigated a foreign domesticity as well as his personal past. After some time in Rome, the family headed South to Pentidatillo, the village where Roda’s grandfather grew up.  Eager to explore his ancestor’s existence as faithfully as possible, Roda blurred the lines between his art and his life more so than in any other series. The five Rodas settled into a one-bedroom house that served as both their home and Roda’s studio.  The resulting images look, therefore, like extracted splices of real-life moments because they were.  The boys would be doing their homework or eating breakfast and they’d stop to work on one of Roda’s sets.  

Since Plato confined art to his cave, art and, for that matter, artists have struggled with art being second best to the “real” thing.  Modernism achieved a self-referential autonomy where art could exist in an obscure, albeit ideal “Platonic” place, governed not by real life but by stylistic laws.  Painting and sculpture were separate from the materialistic, mundane affairs of ordinary people. This was art for art’s sake, and the complete opposite of Roda’s paused performative reenactments of a life gone by and developing documents of a life going on. While the photographs have roots in the tradition of the family snapshot, Roda’s work transcends.  Though his works are an ever-evolving documentary of Roda’s relationship to his past and his present they are most of all compelling investigations of both the passage of time and the dynamism of human relationships.


Carrie E. A. Scott


Tim Roda (*1977 in Lancaster PA, USA) lives and works in New York surrounded by his family that represents, at the same time, his main artistic „material“ and source of inspiration. He graduated whith excellence from the University of Washington. He took part to different residencies all around the world and received several awards, such as the Fullbright Award in 2008. 


For further information please contact Teresa Vena: t.vena@galeriemichaeljanssen.de

Galerie Michael Janssen, Rudi-Dutschke-Strasse 26,10969 Berlin

Tel: +49 (0)30 25 927 250, Fax: +49 (0)30 25 927 2518, www.galeriemichaeljanssen.de


born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania PA

M.F.A. University of Washington, Seattle WA(Ceramics)

B.F.A. Pennsylvania State University (Ceramics)
(124 / 140 Credits in Art Education Program at Penn State University)


The Butcher‘s Block. Galerie Anita Backers, Frankfurt 

Cooperations. Galerie Ferenbalm-Gurbrü Station, Karlsruhe

Angell Gallery, CONTACT International Photography Festival, Toronto, CA

make BELIEVE. Galerie Michael Janssen, Berlin
Daniel Cooney Fine Art, New York NY
Recent Photographs. Greg Kucera Gallery, Seattle WA

Fragments. Art Agents Gallery, Art Forum Berlin
Family Album. Baer Ridgway Exhibitions, San Francisco CA
Angell Gallery, Toronto, Ontario
Photographs. Art Agents Gallery, Hamburg
Photographs. Ferenbalm Gurbruestation, Karlsruhe
Whatcom Museum of Art, Seattle WA

Gasser & Grunert, New York NY
Limited Edition. Chashama Artist & Residence Program, New York NY
Family Album. Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago IL
Family Matters. Charleston Heights Art Center Gallery, Las Vegas NV

Texas State University, San Marcos TX
Family Matters. Art Agents Gallery, Hamburg
New Works. Angell Gallery, Toronto
Collaborations. Ohio State University, Columbus OH
Photographs. Greg Kucera Gallery, Seattle WA
Photographs. Gasser & Grunert, New York NY

Eastern Washington University, Spokane WA
Exit Show. Archie Bray Foundation, Helena MT

Documentational Studies. Louise Jones Brown Gallery, Duke University, Durham NC
Family Album. The Greg Kucera Gallery, Seattle WA


Younger. Daniel Cooney Fine Art, New York, NY

In Bed With Three Kings, Ferenbalm-Gurbrü Station, Karlsruhe, Germany

Strange Coupling. Ouch My Eye Gallery, Seattle WA
Gallery Artists Exhibition, Greg Kucera Gallery, Seattle WA

A Non-Traditional Approach. NCECA, Old Ice Making Factory, Phoenix AZ
Artist as a Performer.
Houston Center of Photography, Houston TX

Wild Signals.
Artistic Positions between Symptom and Analysis. Württembergischer Kunstverein, Stuttgart
Confrontational Ceramic.
Westchester Arts Council, Westchester Arts Exchange, New York NY

Gimmie Art. Hold the Colour, Angell Gallery, Toronto
smART Moody Gallery, Houston TX
Harlem HOAST. Gallery 461, New York NY
Nine to Watch from the Pacific Northwest. Photography Biennial, Whatcom Museum, Bellingham WA
FOTO.KUNST Essl Museum, Austria
Coercive Atmospherics. D.U.M.B.O. Art Center, New York NY

Top 10.

Angell Gallery, Toronto
Made in Seattle. The Seattle Art Museum, Seattle WA
Deconstruction and Reconstruction: The Family Experience. M.F.A., Florida State University, Tallahassee FL
Angell Gallery, Toronto
NEW WORK. Gasser and Grunert Gallery, New York NY

Perchance to Dream.
Ohio Craft Museum, Columbus OH

Perchance to Dream. Society for Contemporary Craft, Pittsburgh PA

Jacob Lawrence Gallery, University of Washington, Seattle WA

Small Sculpture. Associated Artists of Pittsburgh, National Society of Arts and Letters, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh PA

Scholastic Art Show - Corcoran Gallery of Art, The Library of Congress, Washington WA


Fulbright Award

Nominated for a Visual Art Grant through The Rema Hort Mann Foundation

Artist Pension Trust www.artistpensiontrust.org
College Art Association
Texas Photographic Society

Recommended for a Fulbright Grant to Italy by the Institute of International Education

Graduating With Excellence Scholarship, The University of Washington, Seattle WA
Nordstrom Recognition Award and Grant, The University of Washington, Seattle WA
Nominated for a Genius Award by The Stranger, Seattle WA

The Marsh Scholarship in Art, Penn State University, University Park PA

Kiki Smith Full Scholarship to the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, Bangor ME
Barbara J. Gohn Award for outstanding


Residency Centro Cultural Andratx, Mallorca

Chashama - Studio Space, New York NY

Villa della Cupa, Free Studio Space, Umbria

The Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation, New York NY
Alternate for the Smack Mellon Artist Studio Program, New York NY
Alternate for the PS 122 Project Studio Program, New York NY

Archie Bray Foundation Artist Residency, Helena MT

Haystack Mountain School of Crafts with Arthur Gonzalez


make BELIEVE. Galerie Michael Janssen, Berlin, 2009


External Exhibitions

Strange Coupling, Ouch My Eye Gallery, Seattle, WA - Group Show
April 1 – May 6, 2010

Gallery Artists Exhibition, Greg Kucera Gallery, Seattle, WA  - Group Show
April 1 - May 15, 2010

Angell Gallery, CONTACT International Photography Festival, Toronto, Canada - Solo show
April 29 – May 1, 2010



Artsjournal.com, (PDF 132 KB), October 2009
, October 2008
Modern Painters
, May 2008