Above: Install.

A Little Bit of Nothing Much

Anna Blake

In Tim Crowder’s fourth solo show at garner narrative, A Little Bit of Nothing Much, multivocal shapes and lines break up space on bold masses of bright pastels. Crowder’s work, drawing influence from Minimalist and Post-Minimalist movements, invites the viewer to contribute—or complete—an understanding of the work. The forms, influenced by Crowder’s own childhood, explore the function of the artist in relation to the viewer. Perception itself is the subject matter of Crowder’s work. Bodies encounter the objects to create a unique aesthetic experience for the viewer reliant on personal thoughts and feelings.

Subjectivity as a motif is most apparent in the long row pieces that comprise A Little Bit of Nothing Much (Small). Diminutive mixed media, quasi-three dimensional forms are hung at 41.7 inches which, according to the curatorial statement, is the average height of a five-year-old boy. The objects, flat shapes cut out in wood, are painted simply, containing two different colors at most, and hung in a horizontal line. The unusually specific hanging height illustrates the ways in which perception can be influenced by the way the viewer’s body approaches the work. The average adult would have to look down on the work, revealing the hanging apparatus and shattering the illusion of the object floating in space. For a child, the colorful objects appear to be suspended, recalling forms like medieval castle towers and clouds. The substance of their form, however, remains reliant on the viewer’s imagination.

There are two sculptural objects in the gallery, A Little Bit of Nothing Much (Sculpture) #1 and #2, both taking the form of wrecking devices. Like the floating ambiguous objects, these appear to be the height of a child, causing an adult to have to look down on rather than directly onto the piece. From an adult perspective and within the context of a gallery, the function of the piece is absent. With its bright colors and toy-like construction, however, the object can easily be mistaken for as a plaything to a child.

These wrecking devices give context to other pieces, including a piece from A Little Bit of Nothing Much (Paper) placed next to the sculpture. With a scalloped edge on the bottom and ambiguous strips of felt lines, the paper piece suggests a built environment but remains vague enough for its perception to be shaped by its surroundings. As the mind compulsively attempts to make sense of the 2D form, it draws on its 3D neighbor for an answer. The form, which might reference something as fantastical as the wrecking device next to it, could simultaneously recall something more mundane.

The effect of placement within the space is central in another piece from the A Little Bit of Nothing Much (Paper) series. By placing the piece facing the window, the viewing conditions change and force the viewer to observe outside of the gallery. The work is embroidered thread on paper coated in latex paint. Two pink arches are on the bottom and the word “oh” is embroidered in a naive cursive towards the top. Depending on the time of day, one can see their reflection and their surroundings in the window, revealing red arched doors of the St. John United Church of Christ across the street. The reflective window becomes a mediator between object and subject, imparting new meaning that places the object into a critical discourse. The context of this piece, reliant on individual perception and spatial conditions, changes its meaning for each individual viewer.

A Little Bit of Nothing Much encourages the viewer to consider how individual perception changes the experience of the space. The forms, colors, and textures are mined from Crowder’s childhood, placing the work into a quasi-autobiographical narrative while remaining subjective enough to appeal to wide audiences. The duality between built reality and unique perception places a priority on the role of the viewer as a contributor of meaning without ignoring the role of the artist, placing the two parties in conversation with each other.


A Little Bit of Nothing Much is on display at Garner Narrative through December 29th.

Garner Narrative is located at 642 E Market St,  Louisville, KY, 40202, and is open Wed-Sat 1pm-6pm, Sun 12pm-5pm, and by appointment.


Anna Blake
Guest Contributor

A Little Bit of Nothing Much (Small), detail.

A Little Bit of Nothing Much (Sculpture).

A Little Bit of Nothing Much (Paper), detail.

A Little Bit of Nothing Much (Small), detail.

A Little Bit of Nothing Much (Sculpture).  

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Louisville, KY