Winner of the Beck Futures Award in 2001, Tim Stoners artwork is distinctive and ethereal. Almost other-worldly, or the product of a bygone age, the paintings celebrate leisure and life, presenting images of happiness and community. Creating an incredibly flat surface, Stoner employs overlapping thin layers of paint so that there is a sense of movement to the composition, the figures becoming less defined. Working predominantly in Malaga and London, the artist uses found photographs as his source material. Fascinated by the nature of collective fantasies of happiness, the artist takes the figures from his discovered images and transposes them into a simple, anonymous backdrop. The figures engage in a variety of activities from across time and culture, creating a contrast between the old and the new, eastern and western cultures. The dance and costume of the figures in Folk seems to hark back to a bygone age, referencing European folk culture from centuries ago. This is in stark contrast to the modern activities of the pole dancers, party goers and the title of V.I.P. However, due to the nature of the works, even these modern activities are presented as faded and somehow older. The muted tones of the paint wash seem to present the composition as if depicting a faded memory. The depictions are therefore difficult to contextualise, the viewer left wondering if Stoner is attempting to capture these communal activities, or to apply a critique to their worth and survival. The activities which Tim Stoner paints almost appear ritualistic. They are static, their figures seemingly stranded, suspended in time and space. This adds a particular eeriness to the manner with which Stoner has painted his figures. Each is backlit, which has the reductive effect of making each a silhouette. The aura which surrounds the figures negates any visible distinctive features, making them as anonymous as the figures in the found photographs which the artist works from. In this manner Stoner makes his figures universal, but also very removed from their audience. The viewer is unable to join the figures in their activity, they are explicitly looking in on the action, unable to identify or relate to it. Therefore the ideas of collective harmony, which the paintings first appear to depict, are not as simple as they may seem. An underlying menace to the superficial happiness is more explicit in some works than others. For example, Folk, with its monumental size, towers above the viewer, the old fashioned, figures almost appearing pagan in their dance. However even this sinister element to their dance is muted, due to the works warm tones. There is thus a certain ambivalence within the artist as to how he views the event himself; despite being the creator, he leaves the final meaning of the work to the digression of his audience. The simple stylised vignettes in the paintings of Tim Stoner thus speak to their audience, presenting optimistic visions which can be read at face value, or seen in a more melancholic and complex light.