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Artist Statement




These urban landscapes are from locations within a mile radius of my winter home and studio in Costa Rica. Though I am now doing most of my painting in Costa Rica, I work half the year in the US and part of this time as a free-lance certification inspector for the organic food industry. I have always been attracted towards the exotic but at the same time, seek my identity in the mundane; which I think might be a cultural trait of the Midwest

I believe that for painting to thrive in this century as the high Art that it is, young painters, teachers, and the general viewing public should understand the concept of plastic or pictorial space, as found in the best paintings, and its difference from naturalistic space, as found in nature. I believe Hans Hoffmann’s teachings have proved true on this. He taught that plastic creation provides a three-dimensional effect but must exist two-dimensionally; where the picture plane is completely maintained. When this has been accomplished, a painting has tension, real force, and a breathing life - akin to harmonics in music.

To me, creating this pictorial space is the real game in painting; and to do without it, (to paraphrase the poet Robert Graves) is like playing tennis without a net. I believe that the painter’s main job is to translate nature and naturalistic space into pictorial space. Once this is accomplished, you are free to read into it whatever you like.





Artist Exhibitions



“Drawings from Perception VII”, Juror Award winner, National juried drawing exhibition, Wright State University - Robert and Elaine Stein Galleries, January 13 - February 24, 2013, 3 drawings exhibited.

"Realism and Its Discontents: Midwest Paint Group with Gabriel Laderman", Robert and Elaine Stein Galleries- Wright State University (Dayton), March 25- May 6, 2012; and Manchester University, North Manchester, IN, Sept. 14- Nov. 25, 2012.

Bowery Gallery, New York, 2011 National Juried Exhibition, July-August, painting “Bajo Piuses Buildings”.

"The Figure", a Midwest Paint Group Exhibition, Leedy Voulkos Art Center, Kansas City, MO, Nov.5, 2010-Jan. 28, 2011; Alexandre Hogue Gallery, Tulsa, OK, March 3-31, 2011; Handwerker Gallery, Ithaca College, Ithaca, NY, Sept.8-Oct. 16, 2011.

"East Meets Midwest: New Visions of Figurative Painting", Group show, Beverly Art Center, Chicago, April 14-May 9, 2010; Hoffman-LaChance Contemporary, St. Louis, MO, July 9-August 15, 2010; Westbeth Gallery, NYC, Sept.11-Oct. 3, 2010; Andrews Gallery, College of William & Mary, Williamsburg, VA, Jan. 26-Feb. 17, 2011.

"Works from Perception: Recent Paintings from the Midwest Paint Group", Sheldon Swope Museum of Art, Terre Haute, IL; Feb. 6- March 14, 2009; first stop of traveling exhibition also to be shown at The Albrect Kemper Museum in St. Joseph, MO in Sept., 2009, and the Spiva Art Center in Joplin, MO in Jan 2010.
Bowery Gallery, New York, 2009 National Juried Exhibition, July-August, 2009, painting “Barrio San Agustin 5”.

"Pride Of Place", at Ryerson Woods, Deerfield, IL; July 26-Aug. 17, 2008; group show.

Rose-Hulman Institute, Terre Haute, IN; Sept. –December, 2007; “New Works by the Midwest Paint Group", 11 man show.

"Post Abstract Figuration: Paintings by the Midwest Paint Group",December 2-22, 2005; 33 Collective Gallery, Zhou B Center, Chicago; six person show, introduction by Gabriel Laderman. (For copy of program see www.midwest-paint-group.org).

1st Place, Phyllis Dye Turner Award of Distinction, Arts Illiana Award of Honor, 58th Annual Wabash Valley Juried Exhibition, Sheldon Swope Art Museum, Terre Haute, IN, Sept.-Oct., 2002, for painting “Between Bridges; three paintings exhibited.

Upleft Gallery, Terre Haute, Indiana, “Midwest Paint Group”, June 28-July 5, 2002, six man show.

Wilmington College, Wilmington, Ohio, September-October, 2000, “Recent Drawings”, one-man show.

“The Object Considered: Contemporary Still Life Painting in Ohio, Illinois, and Indiana”, touring group exhibit at Columbus College of Art and Design - March, 2000; The Southern Ohio Museum in Portsmouth, October - November, 2000; South Bend Regional Museum of Art, December, 2000 - January 2001; two pieces exhibited.
The Ohio State University Faculty Club, November - December, 1999, “Here and There”, one-man show.

Books ‘N More, Wilmington, Ohio; March - April, 1999, “Local Seen”, one-man show.

The Columbus Cultural Arts Center, Columbus, Ohio; December 6-27, 1998, “Painters 4”, four-man show.

Hammond Harkins Galleries, Bexley, Ohio; 1998-2002, biannual “Small Paintings” exhibitions.

Caldbeck Gallery, Rockland, ME; December, 1997, December Group Show.

William J. Harkins Fine Art, Columbus, Ohio; May 15 - July 13, 1997, one-man show.

Art & Antiques & So On, Osterville, MA; Summer, 1995.

Boyd Auditorium Gallery, Wilmington College, 1998, 1995, 1994, 1993; Summer Group Art Shows, Peace Symposium Show.

Ohio Magazine, January, 1994, Page 18, watercolor.

Gloria Plevin Gallery, Chautauqua, NY; “Art for the Country”, June 27 - August 22, 1988; Watercolors exhibited, group show.

The Gourmet Market, Columbus, Ohio; April 10 - 30, 1988, one-man show.

Ohio Magazine, March, 1988, pages 32-37; Three drawings, one watercolor.

Christine Gallery/Shield’s Crossing, Loveland, Ohio; September, 1987, two-man show featuring John Ruthven.

Christine Gallery, Loveland, Ohio, June, 1987; One-man show, “Indifferent Landscapes”.

Ohio Magazine, April, 1987, pages 48-49, “Winter Corn Field”, two-page spread.

The Ohio State Fair/Art Exhibit, July - August, 1986, “Winter Bean Field”, watercolor.

“Upstairs Art”, Wilmington, Ohio, July, 1985; Four-man show.
Best of Show Award, Rotary Regional Art Invitational, Wilmington, Ohio, 1975.

Peter T. Bohan Drawing Award, Kansas City Art Institute, 1975
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Artist Publications



Although Philip Hale’s expressionist process is not like that of the cubist Jacques Villon, or the slower, more graphic process of Bernard Buffet, his work, in general shares qualities with both of them. There is a very solid Cubist underpinning to everything. Planar effects and a tangle of linear movements in space are both characteristic of his work. However, unlike the two French artists mentioned, his process is much more the result of quick brush drawing and painting inspired by the motif. Rather than being coldly analytic, his work betrays the fury of an expressionist impulse, through which an analytic response to the motif flows.

-Gabriel Laderman, Nov. 2005, from program to the exhibition
"Post Abstract Figuration: Paintings of the Midwest Paint Group",
33 Collective Gallery, Chicago


Philip Hale’s series of landscapes are magnificent, solid, and continue the tradition of plein air painting. One only has to think of the highly structured work of Cezanne to see the source of Hale’s inspiration. Yet Hale’s exquisite paint handling expresses an emotive response to nature not present in Cezanne’s analytical representations.

From Juror’s Statement, Swope Art Museum 58th Annual Wabash Valley Exibition, 2002 by
Kevin Mullins
Curator of Exhibitions
Ulrich Museum of Art
Wichita State University


Summer Artswalk will feature work of some of Midwest's top creative talents
By Steve Kash/Special to the Tribune-Star
June 21, 2002

Translating appearances of nature and life into a painting confined by the four walls of an artist's canvas has been a lifelong fascination for Phil Hale, who will be one of the artists from around the Midwest displaying their work in Terre Haute at the Summer Artswalk 2002.

Virtually everywhere Hale sets up his easel to face the challenge of his craft, he attracts an array of curious spectators.

In Vigo County, Hale is most widely recognized as the earnest fellow who periodically sets up his easel in a parking lot across the street from St. Benedict's Cathedral on South Ninth Street. He has also garnered considerable attention across the river in West Terre Haute, where occasionally he sets his easel along the banks of the Wabash between the Dresser and Dreiser bridges.
There, according to his frequent painting companion, Michael Neary, Hale is a magnet for a variety of people who happen along the riverbank. As Hale grapples with the challenges of condensing the visual impact of water, land and urban imagery, he attracts fishermen, dogs and kids on bikes who cannot resist the impulse to check out the spectacle of an artist hard at work in this setting.

For years, Hale, a native of Wilmington, Ohio, who grew up in a family where there were many painters, has earned most of his living as an agricultural inspector. His agricultural inspection work has taken him throughout the world, from Latvia and Japan to Costa Rica.

Most recently Hale has been painting in Costa Rica. He became acquainted with his wife, Yamile, whom he married this past March, through his agricultural work, and he spends more than half of his time with her in an industrial suburb near San Jose.

"Costa Rica is a good place to paint landscapes. The light and feel of the place are much different than Indiana or Ohio," Hale says. "I can work on the same painting under the same light and sky for several weeks on end because the weather changes very little during the dry season from November through May."

"Life is slower in Costa Rica than in America, which makes it easier to paint because painting takes a lot of time. Also, it is fairly inexpensive there -- about $150 a month -- which is important to a poor artist like me. I love to take my gear out and do my painting in the streets of some fairly rough barrios. The people are very friendly, and very interested to see how a gringo artist sees their neighborhood; especially the kids are friendly. Some people have never seen a person paint before.

"I am stimulated by the contrasts between beauty and ugliness, natural and artificial, rich and poor, black and white, colors and grays.

"Skies are very hard for me to paint convincingly. I have found over the years that telephone lines help put into a painting a measure of the sky space. I'm amazed at how many electric and telephone lines are everywhere around the world."

April Simma, one of Arts Illiana's coordinators of the Summer Artswalk 2002 says, "We expect this year's Artswalk will have one of the most interesting gatherings of artists ever collected in Terre Haute at one time."

The Artswalk is scheduled for 5 to 9 p.m. June 28. Maps will be available at Arts Illiana and other downtown businesses. Downtown Terre Haute's arts corridor will be filled with exciting artists displaying their beautiful artwork.

"Businesses throughout the downtown area will be participating in the Artswalk. Plus a local drawing group will have a drawing session in Indiana State's Fairbanks Hall in the Bare-Montgomery Gallery. Many of these artists have out-of-the-ordinary private lives. One member of the drawing group has been an opera singer; another is a retired creative writing teacher. In addition to artists, there will be all kinds of musicians, writers and other creative people sharing their work in the downtown arts corridor during the evening."

One feature of the Artswalk that promises to be popular will be the live caricatures drawn by local artist Amy Ford at the UPLEFT Gallery on the second floor above Crossroads Cafe at Seventh and Wabash streets. Ford's caricatures are noted for being insightful and amusing.

"I've been drawing since I could hold a crayon, and I have never stopped," Ford says. "I can draw a caricature in 10 to 15 minutes. Creating caricatures of friends and soon-to-be friends keeps me from getting overly serious about myself and my work."

Ford says that one exciting aspect of this year's Artswalk will be sharing space in the UPLEFT gallery with the Midwest Paint Group.

The group, which includes members Hale and Neary, was co-founded by Chicago artist Timothy King, who attended the same art academy in Kansas City as Neary and Hale. Other members are Barbara Lea, Bob Brock and Dave Rich.

According to King, one of the main bonding mechanisms for the group, which is spread out from Minneapolis and Kansas City to Ohio, is their Web site: mpg-gallery.org. The site enables the MPG artists to interact in a more informal and spontaneous way than a traditional Web site. Also, it helps them to display their work for the general public.

"The landscapes I will bring to Terre Haute's Summer Artswalk are all pleine air," says King. "I paint with a direct impasto style; my palette is keyed high with lots of rich purples and emeralds when I'm in a wooded area.

"In contrast to that, I have a series of beachscape studies from the Oak Street Beach in downtown Chicago, of which I will bring a sample. The colors are about joining the beach to the sky with a chunk of high-rise buildings jetting in from the right side. In these paintings, the color is the most time-shifted of all my work. As the sky changes, the water and beach change, and large cast shadows encroach from overhead due to the unseen skyscrapers behind.

"The still life I will bring is about two tables stretched together as if one. The forms are paradoxical and stretched to the edges of the canvas. The objects painted on the tables are chosen from the standpoint that they enhance the ambiguity and beauty of spatial and scale relationship... . All in all, my work is expressive with realism and abstraction interwoven."

UPLEFT Gallery proprietor Neary says the location of his studio is the perfect place for these talented artists who live scattered a thousand miles apart.

"Think about it: During the night of the Artswalk, a second-floor gallery overlooking the historic Crossroads of America will be a crossroads for artists from throughout the Midwest," he says.

Copyright 2002 Tribune Star




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