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Indepth Arts News:

"Funicular: Joseph Phillips"
2004-09-04 until 2004-11-07
plan B Gallery
Austin, TX, USA United States of America

In his new series, Funicular, Joseph Phillips continues his investigation into space and direction, while challenging utopian ideals. Ferris wheels, roller coasters, and cable cars hover in backgrounds abstracted by the bias of memory, where the synchronous movement of life survives as the only reality. Phillips appropriates imagery of popular American culture to create paintings that symbolize the human need for both physical and cerebral orientation.

Concentrating on a fixed moment within a cyclical journey Phillips presents a distorted sense of realism in which the funicular path becomes endowed with great symbolic importance.  In each ride, participants travel from one fixed point to another along a predetermined path. The individual simultaneously gives up his personal freedom while achieving equality because all participants in transit are pulled through the same space, at the same rate, in the same vehicle. Phillips intensifies this juxtaposition by placing this predetermined path within a void and in doing so elevates the ride to a philosophical status. By isolating his subjects in amorphous backgrounds with restrained color palettes, Phillips quiets the chaos of the modern world and focuses the viewer’s eye on the conceptual journey. Each ride becomes a battle between ascending and descending, recreation and obligation, freedom and control, originality and conformity.

While this series provides a theoretical channel for his concepts, Phillips continues to display his mastery of color, tone, and line.  The result is a focused body of work with a lucid esthetic coherence.

Paintings from previous collections will be on display in the salon.


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