Brad Phillips

Law & Order

October 25, 2014 - January 5, 2015
Saturday, October 25: 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Painting About.
Painting About.
Painting Abuot.
Paintizg Abzut.
Pazntinz Abzzt.

Marked by a wry penchant for the disconcerting and a proclivity for the absurd, Brad Phillips works somewhere between text and image, striving for the immediacy of both. His wordplay precipitates varied meanings, creating slippage and dissonance between interpretations. For Phillips, text becomes image, and image becomes text.

Mom, Wake Me When I’m Dead.
I Got Stoned in the Middle East.
Eat, Pray, Get the Fuck Out.
Kunst Halle Death Rattle.

Drawing from a vast trove of cultural detritus—the tongue-in-cheek slogans of bumper stickers and needlepoint pillows to the sardonic quips of a misanthrope—Phillips toys with the disjuncture between his phrases and their visual representation, combining commercial fonts, brightly colored words, and faux ransom lettering with sordid messages of suicide, inadequacy, and self-degradation. Like the text-based work of Richard Prince and Christopher Wool, Phillips’s word paintings hint at dysfunctionality and tragedy, partially obscured by layers of humor, multiple meanings, and pop culture puns.

Break the Law & Order Chinese Food.
The Male Gays.
Everyone Knows You’re a Fraud.
Do Not Enter. Call 911.

Taking inspiration from high and low culture, Phillips’s paintings are inspired by literature and books, which appear in both quotation and image, in the form of book covers and spines, throughout his work. Influenced by the confessional nature of poetry and prose, Phillips employs subject matter that is both autobiographical and reminiscent of the authors he refers to—Phillip Roth, J.D. Salinger, Joan Didion—whose work is similarly tinged with dissatisfaction with and failure of the North American dream.

Sex Drugs Then Please Leave.
All Women All Cry.
I Got 99 Problems and Each and Every Last One is a Bitch.
Live Free and Die or Something.

Phillips’s photorealistic paintings, like the psychosexual suburban dramas of Eric Fischl, activate the eye of the artist-voyeur as a type of Humbert Humbert figure, taking mostly unsuspecting young women as his subjects. Images vary from tightly cropped portraits to explicit close-ups to domestic interiors, evocative of the scenes of Edward Hopper and Alex Katz. Incorporating a brightly colored, naturalistic approach to his flattened compositions, these paintings are at once naïve and confrontational.

There’s No Business Like No Business.
Neverending Bullshit.
All New Material No New Money.
Shit! I’m an Artist’s Artist!

Brad Phillips is a Toronto-based artist, who has been included in numerous group and solo presentations worldwide. His most recent exhibitions include solo shows at Macaulay Fine Arts, Vancouver; Louis B. James Gallery, New York; CSA Space, Vancouver; and The Residence Gallery, London. He has been the recipient of several grants and awards, including the British Columbia Arts Council Grant and the Canada Council for the Arts Research and Creation Grant. His work belongs to the collections of The Glenbow Museum, The Capital Group, Royal Bank of Canada, as well as various private clients. Phillips is also a prolific writer and frequent contributor to Modern Painter, ArtSlant, and The Art Book Review.