Reclamation is ubiquitous in contemporary art – artists were the first recyclers, long before it became de rigueur to include orange bins as a part of the household routine, and usually this refers to found physical materials, objects rescued from the oblivion of dumpsters and landfills. For Philip High, the action of scavenging the past runs deeper than the surface, shape, or texture of things.
“I am a collector of forms, contemplating the forces that created them. I freely combine these abstract and recognizable fragments, looking for patterns and relationships that suggest non-linear stories reflecting on nature and human experience - a visual haiku.”
His language establishes a somewhat spiritual context for his work, one that illuminates the connection between humankind and our environment. It is a common enough theme among 21st century artists, yet it seems in exhaustible. High’s work never feels derivative or second hand, but registers his very individual journey in highly specific terms. The connection to nature is profound enough to encourage deeper and more thoughtful approaches to artistic expression, and High’s aesthetic is unique and resonant.
“My current work is in mixed media and falls into three general categories: works on paper, assemblage, and small sculptural objects.” We see examples of all three here. “Fortuna” is a piece that began with a fragment of wood found on the banks of the Ohio River in Louisville. Fortuna was the Roman goddess of fortune, often associated with cities and rivers. One of the reasons why the piece intrigues is that the assemblage technique obscures any traditional examination of the artist’s hand. Which marks were part of the discovery and which are made by High in response? The “craft” is exercised as much through a series of correlative choices as through any manipulation of plastic medium.
High is currently featured in The Modern Landscape, which runs through November 4, 2017 at New Editions Gallery, Lexington, KY.
Phillip High will be participating in the 2017 Open Studio Weekend, sponsored by Louisville Visual Art and University of Louisville’s Hite Art Institute. His studio, located in the Old Louisville neighborhood, will be open the weekend of November 4 and 5. Tickets for Open Studio Weekend will go on sale October 16. Click here for more information.
Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky
Education: Three years at the University of Kentucky as a painting major, where I also studied ceramics and printmaking.
Gallery Representation: New Editions Gallery (Lexington, KY),
Zephyr Gallery (Louisville, KY).
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Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2017 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved.
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