Phillip James Frost Review By Naomi Boult

Philip Frost’s current show Paper Work at a gallery proves to be a cohesive exhibition of the artist’s recent work, complete with the customary pop-culture references as well as more personal themes.  The uniformity of his style works particularly well in the gallery, the austerity of the walls and space being the perfect foil for Frost’s bold colours and chaotic collage.

At times Frost’s work can be exceptional, when he seems to possess an instinctual ability to work with composition and colour to make something that has inherent beauty.  The most striking example of this in his latest show is Head in a Box; a work that brings to mind taxonomical classifications, phrenology and deranged collectors of the macabre.   As dark and unsettling as it is, the work has a strange allure created by exquisite use of shadowy, muted shades and the off center configuration of the imagery.  This work, although it sits rather uncomfortably with his others, exemplifies the admirable work Frost is periodically able to deliver.

The collaged works in Paper Work can occasionally appear formulaic, but Frost avoids saturating his audience with stale imagery by including a few compositions of varying technique.  One such example of his departure from rote is his piece Untitled (2011) which depicts a cosmonaut adrift in a sea of fingerprints which evoke the stylistic legacy of the late Sigmar Polke. 

This show predominantly consists of works that we have come to expect from Frost, containing allusions to contemporary culture with varying levels of success.  It is the inclusion of pieces which signal a different direction for the artist, however, that prevents this show from becoming overly predictable and merits heading to Princes Street to view.

Philip James Frost, Paper Work is showing at a gallery, 393 Princes Street until April 2nd, 2011

Published by agallerypresents.com

Conceived as a two-year project, ‘a gallery’ opened in February 2011 at 393 Princes Street, Dunedin and closed in September 2012. Strategically placed south of the center of town nestled between tattoo studios, sex shops and a needle exchange. What was integral in the selection of the gallery space was that it would be able to be viewed from the street through the street level floor to ceiling windows. This would allow the artists showing to be exposed not only to viewers visiting the gallery, but also those walking past, as a gallery was to represent artists that did not fit within the commercial gallery context or the so called experimental project space’s, this would be the best way to expose a particular group of artists selected by gallery curator/manager Jay Hutchinson, artists he respected and admired and felt were not being represented in the gallery scene at the time.

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