Timko is a rising star at Mall Galleries. Esoteric interiors and bewitching portraits have secured her the First Prize in the Winsor & Newton Young Artist Award 2015; The Phyllis Roberts Award in the Royal Institute of Oil Painters Annual Exhibition 2015; and most recently the 2016 Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize Young Artist Award. Nevertheless, the twenty-four year old remains modest, insisting that she 'doesn’t want to be attached to yesterday’s success'.

The dawn of Bernadett's career seems to cast its soft, pearlescent light onto all her paintings - Timko adopts a muted colour palate, without strong contrasts, because it feels 'melancholic and eternal'. She finds solace in those quiet moments when time appears to slow down, and feels compelled to preserve them on canvas. Hence, it is hardly surprising that the Hungarian-born artist is drawn to the solitary settings of early morning and dusk.

Despite its aesthetic harmony, Bernadett's work is often tumultuous beneath the surface. Second Floor Sink, for example, is an act of rebellion - fed up with a self portrait project at Heatherley's School of Fine Art where she has studied (Timko believes 'self portraits should be painted in solitude, not in a studio with twelve other people'), she aimlessly wandered around the building before stumbling across a small, unassuming washroom. Its grimy tiles and rust stained sink suddenly seemed 'beautiful' to Bernadett; they looked 'exactly the way [she] felt in that moment'. In the words of the artist, 'a mirror could have not shown a more real reflection of me than that room'.

Hungarian paintings, 'which have always been quite emotional and dark', continue to exert their influence over Bernadett. Self studies, such as Self Portrait Age 22 are often used to probe at internal conflicts, reaching deeper than a mirror or photograph ever could. In this particular piece, her eyes confront the viewer with an empty glare, contributing to the overall sullen demeanour. Bernadett adds that 'leaving the eyes blank and undefined wasn’t a conscious choice; it came out that way and it felt honest'.

Timko is 'fascinated by people and the atmosphere their presence can create', so figurative painting was and will always remain her main focus. However she has also found unexpected joy in depicting interiors, and, come September, will switch to studying sculpture full time at Heatherley's. The artist is particularly excited to see how sculpture will affect her painting. For Bernadett, drawing, painting and sculpture are 'not separable'; rather, they go 'hand in hand'. 

Bernadett Timko, Self Portrait at the age of 22

In her view, art and society also share a close dynamic. 'It’s kind of a chicken and egg question', she muses. 'I think society affects art, and vice versa - the artist has always had the perfect reason to create. Art need not be controversial, or touch upon monumental subjects like religion or politics, to impact society. We are visual creatures, we remember images more than words. Art has always said things that words could not'. 

Therefore, the words in this article can’t adequately describe the brilliance of Timko’s work - instead, I urge you to go and experience the paintings in Mall Galleries exhibitions and on Buy Art | Buy Now.

By Anatascia Ismaylova