Brad Phillips: What You Do When You Don’t Go Outside | Harper's Apartment

March 5, 2019 - April 24, 2019
Tuesday, March 05: 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Brad asked me to write this press release in the first person for him. I’ve never written about art, I take photographs.

I’m happy to try this for Brad, because I like him and he’s only been nice to me. Because I know he doesn’t like doing them, and I didn’t have anything else to do, so thought why not. Brad sent me a point form attempt at expressing his intentions for this exhibition.

Reading what he sent, I decided the point form was already enough, and therefore had to do less work for Brad. I sort of rearranged stuff and added the dashes.

Here’s to nothing:

- The title of this exhibition refers to months long periods of time spent alone in my apartment, or alone in my apartment with my wife Cristine during the past year.

- In the past, most paintings I’ve made refer in some way to my daily life. Paintings of parts of my studio, of Cristine, of my medication, and the contents of my refrigerator. My toilet paper roll.

- All of these images expressed my activity, and I wanted to focus on my passivity, if that makes sense to you.

- Growing up in Canada means growing up on American media. Movies, MTV, television shows, The Academy Awards, Buffalo Nightly News, the NBA, CNN, Phil Donahue, Columbine, Hinckley shooting Reagan. Whenever I feel anxious or depressed I watch American movies and television shows, because the tropes and clichés of American movies and television shows are extremely soothing to me. American popular culture has remained a constant component of my daily thinking and experience since February 1974.

- I watch a lot of YouTube top 5 most haunted videos or top 5 most unsolved murders with strange handwritten clues.

- I love the NBC logo. I think it’s one of the most beautiful images in the world. I find it really soothing and calming, that bird.

- The other thing I do at home is lay down. I lay down alone and I lay down with my wife. People have written that I am a ‘realist’ painter but I’m unsure what that means except I paint stuff that is real to my daily life, which I don’t think is being like Courbet or someone.

- I watch television. I think about television. I watch and think about movies. I watch and interact with and think about my spouse who is American. America is both what I’m most frightened of but also most comforted by.

- Everything in this exhibition comprises what has informed my interior world and aesthetic sensibilities. Before I just presented my aesthetic sensibilities without context as to how they came to be shaped.

- The original title of this show was America Is My Favourite Movie, but I didn’t want to be accidentally political, as political art tends to almost always be boring. Or at least my politics are boring.

- I hope that people will enjoy these paintings. I’ve worked hard to make the best exhibition possible.

Daniel Arnold
February 18, 2019