Wigwam blog


Richard Phillips: Most Wanted – at the White Cube
February 1, 2011, 8:51 pm
Filed under: Art

Walking round Hoxton square at anytime you’re normally used to seeing things that normally grab your eye, but it’s never really anything that interesting, just douche bags parading their fashion errors. Enough bitterness. The White Cube had a really rather interesting exhibition based around a really interesting concept by the artist Richard Phillips. The name ‘Most wanted’ would have one thinking it was a gallery of crooks, but no it’s referring to the most recognisable American celebrities. The art itself was pretty striking and immediately hits you when you walk into the space which is filled with ten 2 metre high canvases depicting various celebrities like Leonardo Decaprio, Miley Cyrus, Justin Timberlake and Taylor Swift. Phillips works in the traditional medium of oil on canvas whilst creating work that nods to Photorealism. Despite this the luminous colours used has meant that these paintings come across as bizarre depictions of the falsehood of a celebrity’s public persona. The works could also have a link to the artwork of Stalinist Russia or Maoist China where the cult of the leader was pervasive in society like the current escapist cult of the celebrity that exists now and has replaced previous idols. This was also emphasized by the bright multi coloured halos which make the portraits really pop off the canvases but it also affect the realism of the paintings and makes them look slightly off and flat. Other interesting factor of the paintings are backgrounds which are embossed with logos of various luxury clothing good brands which brings up the idea of what power celebrities hold in society especially within advertising, branding and consumerism. Upstairs you also get to see the preliminary pastel work of the portraits. What intrigued me was what was the process church logo doing on the wall of the gallery on the wall with out the paintings, pretty weird!! A good show which was essentially two sets of works but there can be ALOT of talk derived from this artist’s work, the show runs till the 5th of March at the White Cube gallery in Hoxton Square.

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