Wallspace is pleased to present Day by Day, an exhibition of new work by Vancouver-based artist Brad Phillips. The opening reception will be held on Thursday, September 6th, and will be on view through the 6th of October.
Phillip’s work, exhibited widely in Canada and Europe, forms a distinctive idiolect through a process of borrowing, substitution and repetition. In his small and mid-size oils and gouaches, Phillips weaves literary, popular and art historical references – from Carlo Molino’s polaroids and Toulouse-Lautrec lithographs to the confessionalist poetry of Robert Lowell and the Anglo-sinister voice of Patricia Highsmith – with personal signifiers, meticulously constructing each piece from projected photographs.
Working against traditional hierarchies, Phillips treats the high and low, the personal and historical with the same degree of care, faithfully rendering the imagery in the style from which it was culled. Butting up against this mechanical approach is Phillips’ subtle but consistent use of obfuscation: A head is painted in three-quarter profile just out-of-view, an author’s signature is omitted from a book cover, a stack of Patricia Highsmith novels is seen in a mirror’s reflection.
Highsmith is of particular interest to Phillips, who notes that her work “has a lot to do with the life of the artist in a way, how it borders very closely on the life of a criminal or a con artist.” A similar interest in thievery and black humor forms the conceptual backbone of Phillips’ practice, and is perhaps best expressed in Deadbeat Dad, a painting of the back of a picture frame, versions of which have been duplicated and redeployed in previous exhibitions. This iteration, larger than before and painted in lustrous blacks and glittering golds, is a tantalizing facsimile, made all the more seductive the further a field it moves from the original.
Brad Phillips has had solo exhibitions at Groeflin Maag Galerie, Basel (2007); LISTE The Young Art Fair in Basel – under the auspices of Groeflin Maag Galerie (2007); CSA Space, Vancouver (2006); Greener Pastures, Toronto and Monte Clarke Gallery, Vancouver (2004). He has been included in group exhibitions at The Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, Toronto; Blum & Poe, Los Angeles; Spencer Brownstown, New York and Midway Contemporary Art, St. Paul. A book of his drawings, Suicide Note Writer’s Block, will be published this year by Cederteg Publishing, Stockholm.