HERALDS opens Saturday, March 26, with an open house from 1 - 3 PM.
John-Paul Philippe (b. 1955) grew up in Oklahoma but spent his formative years in Dallas doing display work for Neiman-Marcus. He’s both a painter and designer often producing murals and large scale interior design elements in both private and public spaces.
The artist now lives in Sharon, Connecticut in a bird sanctuary. Much of his recent work depicts references to birds or their imagery. Philippe explains these depictions, “There is subliminal imagery derived from birds…specifically a cage of parakeets which I had in my studio as I was working. The reference to them wasn’t intentional but was inevitable…However, I was aware of the constant chattering which was often evocative of avant garde jazz and somehow filtered into the overall feeling. The titles of the large paintings allude to the parakeets. booking back through recent sketchbooks I’m struck by how often representational drawings of birds make appearances. Not surprisingly though considering I have lived in a bird sanctuary the past dozen years…I feed them and construct perches.”
Philippe’s exhibition will feature five large paintings–some rendered on canvas or panel and others on mounted burlap. The artist discusses his use of this medium, “All works in the show were from the last two years of lockdown. I was not going out to purchase art supplies and I’m not an online shopper.There was a lot of burlap in the barn…I had fortunately begun hoarding it years ago…some of it from England & Japan…There are many different types. The unraveling of burlap suggests the fraying of the old order of our day-to-day existence. It can be mended and I like the graphic quality of the repairs…I’ve always been one to patch my clothes.”
The artist titled the show, HERALDS, and discusses it here, “It seems in these works my familiar repertoire of motifs have begun to suggest heraldic shields (hence the show title). Shields are protective armor against a threat…a baffle against harm.
In addition to the large scale works, there will be five small works on paper included in the show. “The dark grey forms of the works on paper are painted using photo-retouch fluid from my time working in the advertising department at Neiman’s in the late 70s…The two small jars had been unopened and the contents were in perfect condition. The ink seen in the renderings of burlap on paper was made from husks of walnuts from trees here on my property,” Philippe describes.
Finally, Philippe reflects, “I think the new work is a personal breakthrough which points towards new pastures.”
John-Paul Philippe has been working with Barry Whistler Gallery since 1989.