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In late 2008, Tim Wirth began organizing his studio practice around building square paintings that function as three-dimensional objects. Although they have an intended front display and are framed to hang on a wall, the backsides also feature a painted image consisting of date, location, title, and signature. Wirth’s unique craftsmanship and approach has attracted collectors from across the United States, UK, and elsewhere.

Why squares?

“I wanted to find a way to explore any visual terrain I wanted without getting lost. For the most part I painted on squares anyway, so it wasn’t hard to limit myself to that format. A full 4′x8′ sheet of birch yields eight equal squares without any scraps. That’s nice. And the square is fundamental. It’s got an inherent truth and logic about it. Four equal sides. The formalist in me requires it. I also enjoy the cultural baggage with the word “square”. When it appears as slang, it can either be a compliment or an insult. Originally, it referred to someone who was honest, traditional, and reliable. Popular culture later redefined it to describe someone who was rigid and old-fashioned.”

What kind of subject matter do you paint?

“Sometimes I like making images, sometimes I like the paint enough all by itself. Whatever happens usually happens through improvisation. Occasionally it’s premeditated, maybe I have a vague idea of something I want to say or try. The results are either graceful or clumsy or a combination of both. However, every individual painting belongs to that larger context – that family of squares. So each painting, regardless of whether it’s a hit, a miss, or a head-scratcher, contributes to the whole and is interesting in its own flawed and/or magical way. I like that, both in painting and elsewhere.”

What is your philosophy about selling work?

“When a painting is finished, to be honest, I’m ready to kick it out the door and let it live on its own. Most times I suspect the painting is ready to get rid of me too. There’s a few here and there that I like to keep around, usually because I don’t know if I’m finished with them. But mostly, I like seeing how they handle themselves out in the world. So I try to make them attainable to anyone, which is why I price them all the same just like any other object you’d buy. I like the idea of someone being able to own more than one, or collecting them not as paintings to hang but as objects to store in an attic or basement.”

Each Standard Square painting measures 25”x25”x2” and weighs roughly twelve pounds. They are hand built from birch panel and pine and framed in white pine, which is sanded down smooth like an instrument. No, you don’t have an option of a different frame. Tim Wirth’s square paintings are not exactly pictures, they are objects first and foremost. You are welcome to display them however you desire, though they behave best on a wall.
On top of the frame, there’s often something painted, like the painting’s title, the year it was made, the artist’s name, etc. On the backsides, there’s either a painted image, name, year, or some combination of all those things.
To inquire about available inventory, please email:

Original Standard Square (Email for current pricing)

Display Images


About the artist:

Tim Wirth grew up on a farm in rural Iowa. As a child, Tim enjoyed drawing pictures of people, objects, and gloomy desert scenes. The first artist he recalls enjoying was the painter, George Catlin. Upon attending Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, he discovered that “Art” was something you could study and that there were people like HC Westermann and Marcel Duchamp who once existed in this world. This was fascinating to him, so he continued his studies at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia where he received his MFA in Painting in 2007. Upon finishing his studies, he relocated to Des Moines, Iowa, where he worked in the plumbing department of a Lowe’s hardware store. In 2008, he moved back to his native flat lands of Northern Iowa. Later in 2015, he spent most of the year working on the assembly line at Winnebago Industries – which he enjoyed a great deal. At the moment, he spends most of his time in the studio.