Semblance - TJ Philipson
HUW DAVIES GALLERY 18 December–31 January
Like Sydney born artist Tony Schwensen, an artist he refers to as influencing his work,
TJ Phillipson switches to find the best medium to express his ideas. In 'Semblance' we see TJ Phillipson’s photo media work, but also evidence of his interest in performance.
Phillipson puts himself in the frame in 'Semblance', less obviously than in some of his earlier work but unmistakably as a confused man (is it the drink?) with a lettuce head ('Wet Lettuce'), a man beset by pressure to achieve and make money ('Executive') or the conflicted man with too much on his mind ('Versus'). I’m sure there will be many other interpretations; Phillipson seems to take great pleasure in creating multiple layers of meaning.
TJ Phillipson was selected for an Emerging Artist Support Scheme (EASS) residency at PhotoAccess from last year’s ANU School of Art graduating year. EASS residents are selected on the quality and impact of their work in the end of year show. TJ’s work stood out because of its astonishing visual impact and his full on commitment to making provocative and challenging images. It is pleasing to see that this commitment has not diminished in his year away from art school.
A questioning nature can produce great art or give rise to confusing, incoherent and unengaging work. Phillipson’s musings on the nature and shape of masculinity have given rise to serious images, but also images like 'Calm Waters' and 'Fruity Arm' that engage and amuse us with references that are predictable but juxtaposed in unexpected and clearly ironic ways. Then he drags us back to grim reality with the obvious despair of 'Disparaged' and 'Caved In'. It’s a confusing world, but Phillipson gives us a coherent and engaging meditation on it in 'Semblance'.
A heavy workload producing images for several exhibitions, a short film and honouring commitments as an artist in residence at PhotoAccess and Canberra Contemporary Art Space might have resulted in a less interesting and challenging body of work. It says a lot about TJ Phillipson’s maturity as an artist that 'Semblance' is a strong and intriguing exhibition. PhotoAccess is very pleased to share his work with visitors to the HUW DAVIES GALLERY at the Manuka Arts Centre.