Tuesday, February 26, 2008

John Phillips

This Friday, Feb. 29th
5 to 8 pm

Tony Wight Gallery
119 N. Peoria
Chicago IL

(formerly Bodybuilder & Sportsman)

TONY WIGHT GALLERY is pleased to present a solo exhibition of new paintings by Chicago-based artist John Phillips. In his first exhibition with the gallery since 2002, Phillips continues to manipulate painting language in eight new works. Generated from “system based doodles” the paintings are alternately executed in high-keyed colors or resolute shades of gray. Phillips considers the visual event within any single painting as much as the relationships between paintings. Numerous instances of similarity and difference occur throughout the work, and designations of figure and ground continually slip between clarity and obfuscation as arrangements of ovoid shapes hover upon graphic backdrops of color and striation. Attention to surface presence is equally integral to the delivery of these paintings. Knifed over expanses of oil paint are bound by crisply delineated edges and optical patterns that exude a playful, considered attitude about image making. Accordingly, Phillips’ work asserts a conceptual authority that is simultaneously serious and dead-pan. Titles may refer to immediate visual associations (as in Untitled (Puppy), 2006) as often as they pun on combined cultural references from art and music (as in Hey Joe (Albers), 2007). A long-standing theme in Phillips’ work, these new paintings instigate a conversation with the viewer about perception, pleasure, and ultimately, the boundaries of visual language.

JOHN PHILLIPS (American, b. 1953) has exhibited widely nationally and internationally. Selected solo exhibitions include New Paintings at Galerie Kusseneers (2006, Antwerp, Belgium); Scroll Paintings:1988-1998 at Tree Studios (2006, Chicago, IL); and Hot Mix: 1979-2004 at Columbia College (2004, Chicago, IL). Recent group exhibitions include Material Matter at Sideshow (2007, Brooklyn, NY); and Eloquent Papers at Galerie Kusseneers (2007, Antwerp, Belgium). Phillips has received a McCormick Place commission, National Endowment for the Arts, Illinois Arts Council grants, and a Whitney Fellowship. His work is included in the collections of The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The City of Chicago, and The Rockford Art Museum (Rockford, IL). He lives and works in Chicago.

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