The drawn and painted works of Phillip James Frost possess a visual and emotional rawness, alongside a strange elusiveness. The stressed surfaces of his works on paper are littered with partially effaced imagery and scrawled text which defies legibility. Some feature elements of collage, which adds further texture to these marked, splattered and torn sheets of paper.
Frost’s imagery ranges from consumer culture to medical-textbook illustrations. However, these subjects which usually appear slick or precise instead convey a sense of disintegration. Some are roughly sketched in an unstable, graffiti-like manner.
Other works recall the appearance of a poster, pasted up outdoors and progressively worn away by the elements, allowing fragments of earlier posters, pasted below, to show through. Particularly striking is Five Fingers, which suggests an overpainted line drawing of the lungs and windpipe. The clinical restraint of an image conceived as diagram gives way to myriad chaotic colours and multidirectional brush marks that simultaneously augment and obliterate the image.
In this and many other works, a central burst of energy seems to spiral outwards into the surrounding area. Teeth, by contrast, is painted in an all-over manner, appearing like a rainfall of extracted canines and incisors.