Last month the Light Eye Mind Gallery in London N5 hosted the debut solo art show of Sean Rennison Phillips.
Phillips' title Raw is chosen to draw attention to the fact that he is an outsider artist whose approach is uninfluenced by art school and the art establishment.
The show is a series of recent abstract paintings. Contrasts and abrupt rhythms define the work - movement vs stasis, violence vs tranquillity - yet the paintings are encoded further with metadata and reward the pensive viewer.
Phillips’ intention for Raw is to examine personal notions of ‘conformity, disobedience and destruction’ and in focusing on these themes Phillips draws on his experiences of graffiti bombing and also skateboarding.
In such acts creation and creativity is found inherent in destruction and non-conformity. Exploration of this paradox gives Phillips' paintings their complexity.
Phillips’ materials are the tools of the trade of the artist-vandal: spray paint, paint stripper, oil pen; and, for example in Benzo Boys, the canvas is literally bombed with graffiti iconography.
Repeated throughout the paintings, as with Skate Stop II, are dots rhythmically layered over the forms beneath - this is Phillips’ re-appropriation of anti-skateboard architectural design.
In the centre of the gallery Phillips recreates a full-scale model, covered in graffiti, of the iconic and terminally threatened skateboard locale Southbank. As a nod to the iconoclastic, raw position of the outsider artist, certain canvases are not on the gallery wall, Phillips has balanced them directly onto loose piled brick.
Thus, visual and cerebral, Raw celebrates art, graffiti and skateboarding in London as meaningful, liberating cultural modes; and goes further: working to assert the traditional connections between non-conformity, individualism and cultural liberty itself. Raw, then, proclaims Phillips’ success as a painter and a champion of disobedience.
- October 18, 2015
- John De Plume