The new exhibition is Recordings & Observations: Drawings and Paintings by Lee John Phillips and Diana R. Brook. The exhibition opens on Sunday 11 October and runs until Saturday 21 November.
Lee John Phillips
I have several bodies of work that are my recent focus and images included here were selected as an overview of my current practice.
‘He who casts the first stone’ – series of untitled figure studies
The images I produce are representational in their application, but only made abstract by what I decide to omit. I know the original context of the scenes depicted. Through the negative space I encourage the viewer to complete the image. Their own experiences and ‘cultural baggage’ help finish the narrative and cast aspersions and assumptions. I intend for the viewer to take ownership of the scene through their own theoretical creations, to become a co-conspirator.
I want them to be confronted with their own prejudices, stereotypes and uninformed opinions.
The Shed Project
I am currently in the process of visually cataloguing the entire contents of my late grandfather’s tool shed. I estimate there to be around 100,000 items in total and have currently completed close to 4,500. I have created a set of rules that I adhere to:
- If I can pick it up and it doesn’t crumble when I rub it – I draw it.
- If the packet or container is/has been opened, empty it, draw items, put items back, draw container full.
- If the packet or container has not been opened, I won’t open it, I draw it as found.
- If there are multiples – draw them all.
I am completing the majority of work in A4 sketchbooks and where possible, I work to scale. Larger objects are drawn in A3 books or loose sheet if necessary.
‘The things you miss when you don’t look up’
The series of paintings and drawings started by recoding rooftops in sketchbooks and travel journals. Initiated through a university project set by Osi Rhys Osmond. I have since had a fetish for these aspects of towns and cities. I find peace and solitude in the busiest of places, simply by looking up.
I consider this to be one of the most important elements of my work and an invaluable creative discipline. I have been keeping sketchbooks for a long time and consider them to be far more precious than the paintings or drawings that I ‘exhibit’. Through these pages I have recorded numerous travel experiences, gallery visits, project designs and most importantly, the development of The Shed Project through my ‘Drawing A Day’ venture.
This series of paintings concentrates on the aesthetics of the most ordinary objects, ones that we might see every day and where we fail to notice the shape, surface, colour or light. I have enjoyed promoting the humble cup to the centre piece of a simple painting or recording how light falls on a glass bottle. The paintings are purposely simple resulting in a pure image free from any complications or distractions.
The series of spoon paintings came about after the death of my father a few years ago. I took from the house a simple silver spoon that I had used daily as a child. Until this time I hadn’t appreciated just how significant and beautiful this spoon was in its simplicity and shape.
The other spoon paintings all have a story or a significance and represent different aspects or experiences in my life. They reflect the role of a mother, a nurse, a teacher, a daughter, a chef, a partner, a lover, an adventurer, an entertainer, an artists and traveller. Each spoons reminds me of a place or a person and each spoon is very special.
Progressing from this I have still maintained my interest in the ordinary object but this time I was brave enough to work in colour. Simple objects and a simple composition.
I think that pretty much sums up the whole body of my work: making the ordinary extraordinary.
The sketchbooks are such a precious possession and one thing that I try to instil in the minds of all my students, from the 11 year olds to the 18 year olds and beyond.
They too record moments of my life, the places and the people. In 2013 I embarked on the mission of recording a drawing a day (thanks Lee) and have so far kept up to date. It has required a certain self-discipline and lots of time but also has been really enjoyable and allows me to look back on the last three years and remember events that I’m sure I wouldn’t have remembered in quite the same way. I also have had to be quite careful as I don’t want to upset anybody but still want to be true to the books.
I hope that you enjoy my memories.
The sales exhibition runs until Saturday 21 November.