Nick Phillips

Nick Phillips

'Two Gentlemen'Oil on Board</p>

My painting practice is an on-going exploration of symbolic space. This being somewhere that meaning becomes more important than fact, somewhere for the business of the imagination to take place. In symbolic space an object's metaphorical function is fluid, a tree can become a man, and an actor can play a tree. A woolly jumper can become a ghost at the drop of a hat. Hierarchies are purely dependent on an object's, or person's moral significance to the proceedings.

I am interested in how to engineer such a space within a painting, using the same formal techniques as those found in ritual magic, particularly with connection to still life. Through designed combinations of formal gestures, props, costumes, symbols, and a spatial containment, an atmosphere conducive to inner work can be invoked. A flattening of subjective and objective realities.

One technique I have been using is to make observational paintings of ambiguous objects, for instance painting model trees situated within a diorama, rather than real trees in a wood. By mixing literal representations of props with geometric shapes I am trying to make work that bridges the worlds of fact and value. By situating my work in a theatre of the imagination, rather than the imagination itself, I am able to discuss what those devices are, through the work. Its a way of allowing me to play with formal mechanics in an explicit way, and still locate the work in the world of myth.